Published online by Cambridge University Press: 30 October 2020
Devotional approaches to Shakespeare were typical of Victorian era. George Bernard Shaw famously coined the term “Bardolatry” to disparage his age’s devotional rhetoric, and his ambivalence has been succeeded by well over a century of critical embarrassment or ambivalence in the academy surrounding religious approaches to literature. By contrast, this chapter adopts “Bardology” as a less pejorative alternative to Shaw’s “Bardolatry,” and it proposes that even the most outré Victorian devotional approaches to Shakespeare may be studied profitably, without any special embarrassment or disapprobation. Such study can teach us about both literary art and religious movements in the modern era.