This comprehensive anthology brings together a diverse collection of dramatic writing from the late fourteenth century to the onset of the Renaissance. The volume presents for the first time the key plays of the period in their entirety, alongside more unusual selections, covering religious narrative, religion and conscience, and politics and morality. The first section focuses on Biblical plays, including coherent sequences of the narrative Cycle plays from York and N-Town and supporting pageants from Chester and Wakefield. This approach allows a clear narrative line to develop, and permits the comparison of the treatment of key stories between the Cycles. The selected material demonstrates how the drama of the towns and cities of East Anglia and the North of England mediated religious culture to a heterodox urban audience, and explored biblical events in an intensely contemporary setting. In the second and third sections, the attention turns to secular drama, and the Moral Plays and Interludes.
The featured texts illustrate the range of themes and issues covered, from the salvation of the individual human soul to the renovation of the political nation, and the variety of settings and audiences for which the plays were designed. The flexibility of the Interlude form is explored, as are the ways in which it was utilised by playwrights and their patrons to address issues of direct political and social concern to them and their audiences. Medieval Drama: An Anthology is an indispensable guide to the breadth and depth of dramatic activity in medieval Britain.
Greg Walker is Professor of Early Modern Literature and Culture at the University of Leicester. His previous publications include John Skelton and the Politics of the 1520s (1998), Plays of Persuasion: Drama and Politics at the Court of Henry VIII (1991), Persuasive Fictions: Factions, Faith and Political Culture in the Reign of Henry VIII (1996), and The Politics of Performance in Early-Renaissance Drama (1998).