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Whose Saint Crispins Day Is It?: Shoemaking, Holiday Making, and the Politics of Memory in Early Modern England

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 November 2018

Alison A. Chapman
University of Alabama, Birmingam


This article demonstrates an early modern association between the trade of shoemaking and the act of altering the festal calendar. It traces this link through a series of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English literary texts including Thomas Deloney's Gentle Craft, Thomas Dekker's Shoemaker's Holiday, and Shakespeare's Julius Caesar and — most notably — Henry V. The article argues that the depictions of cobblers making holidays resonated with the early modern English politics of ritual observance, and its concluding discussion of the Saint Crispin's Day speech in Henry V shows how the play imagines king and cobblers vying for control of England's commemorative practice.

Copyright © Renaissance Society of America 2001

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