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The Rise of Bardolatry in the Restoration

Paratexts of Shakespearean Adaptations and other Texts 1660–1737

Enrico Scaravelli

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1 The Theoretical Background


| 13 →In 2015, according to the online edition of the O (), bardolatry is the “Worship of the ‘Bard of Avon’, i.e. Shakespeare.” A combination of the words “bard” and “idolatry,” it is the term used to define the worship of William Shakespeare, who, at least since the nineteenth century, has been called the “Bard of Avon.” Curiously enough, the word was born in a paratext where the author blames Shakespeare: it was, in fact, George Bernard Shaw who coined the term in 1901, when he used it in the preface to his . Here, Shaw employed the term in a negative sense (“So much for Bardolatry!”) to criticize Shakespeare for creating works that, unlike his, did not deal properly with social themes. Likewise for adaptation, the use that will be made here of the word Bard is neutral, bearing neither the negative meaning applied by Shaw, nor the positive one attached by bardolators.

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