The Early English passion play

King, P. M. (2013) The Early English passion play. Yearbook of English Studies, 43, pp. 69-86. (doi: 10.5699/yearenglstud.43.2013.0069)

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Abstract

This discussion challenges the common understanding that biblical drama in England was dominated by ‘mystery plays’, narrowly understood to be cycles of short pageants, by drawing attention to the evidence for large-scale Passion Plays comparable with those better known from France and Burgundy. In so doing, it makes no apology for standing on the shoulders of Peter Meredith's work on the N-Town manuscript, and with John Tailby on the texts and documents illustrating the variety of staging of religious drama across Europe, as well as Meg Twycross's work on devisor Felsted of London, all of which demonstrate that this material has been available in the public domain for some years. Just as the N-Town Plays were still believed in some quarters to come from Coventry as late as the mid-twentieth century, although Francis Douce knew they did not almost 150 years earlier, so too the domination of modern understandings about English mystery plays has remained wedded to the model of four ‘cycles’ promulgated in the 1970s, despite the accumulation of evidence to the contrary. Peter Meredith's edition of The ‘Passion Play’ from the N. Town Manuscript is now all but unobtainable, and the volumes of Records of Early English Drama are the chosen bedtime reading of few, so here we revisit some texts and records to explore afresh one aspect of an already shifted paradigm.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:King, Professor Pamela
Authors: King, P. M.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Language and Linguistics
Journal Name:Yearbook of English Studies
Publisher:Modern Humanities Research Association
ISSN:0306-2473
ISSN (Online):2222-4289
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 Modern Humanities Research Association
First Published:First Published in The Yearbook of English Studies 43:69-86
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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