Festive Tragedy: Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem (2009)

  • Graham Saunders
Part of the Adaptation in Theatre and Performance book series (ATP)


This final chapter uses Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem (Jerusalem, Nick Hern, London, 2009) as a case study, not only for how it appropriates from a number of Shakespearean sources (most notably the festive comedies A Midsummer Night’s Dream and As You Like It), but how it stands as an example of a contemporary dramatist not so much directly challenging Shakespeare, as was the practice in the 1970s and 1980s, but as with Sarah Kane’s Blasted, incorporating Shakespearean sources in a way that is not directly visible. The chapter discusses how Jerusalem can be seen as a contemporary example of C.L. Barber’s idea of a pastoral ‘festive comedy’, and is also representative of Naomi Leibler’s term ‘festive tragedy’ and Mikhail Bakhtin’s ‘the carnivalesque’, in particular the figure of the Lord of Misrule.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BirminghamBirminghamUK

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