Manuscripts, antiquarians, editors and critics: the historiography of reception

King, P. (2016) Manuscripts, antiquarians, editors and critics: the historiography of reception. In: King, P. (ed.) The Routledge Research Companion to Early Drama and Performance. Routledge: London. ISBN 9781472421401

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Abstract

This essay deals in material evidence which endorses Umberto Eco’s proposition that “immediately after the official ending of the Middle Ages, Europe was ravaged by a pervasive medieval nostalgia”. Focusing on religious plays, it draws attention to how the production of many of our manuscript witnesses to “medieval” biblical drama are products of the very early-modern impulse for antiquarian conservation of the past. This impulse, possibly impelled more widely across the arts by the losses attributable to Reformation iconoclasm, make many of our earliest witnesses themselves recuperations. Our manuscripts are, for the most part, not so much acting texts as early critical editions. Embarked on this hypothesis, the essay goes on to look at later endeavours – Romantic, Victorian, and mid twentieth-century – to re-present and comment on the plays understood to form the early English dramatic heritage. It suggests that the historiography of the subject merits study in its own right. It also suggests axiomatically that we should remain alert to the provisionality of our own analyses.

Item Type:Book Sections
Status:Published
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:King, Professor Pamela
Authors: King, P.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Language and Linguistics
Publisher:Routledge
ISBN:9781472421401
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 Routledge
First Published:First published in The Routledge Research Companion to Early Drama and Performance 2016
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy
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