The Devil and the Sacred in English Drama, 1350-1642

Overview

"John Cox tells the intriguing story of stage devils from their earliest appearance in English plays to the closing of the theatres by parliamentary order in 1642. The book represents a major revision of E. K. Chambers' ideas of stage devils in The Medieval Stage (1903), arguing that this is not a history of gradual secularization, as scholarship has maintained for the last century, but rather that stage devils were profoundly shaped from the outset by the assumptions of sacred drama and retained this shape virtually unchanged until the advent of ...
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Overview

"John Cox tells the intriguing story of stage devils from their earliest appearance in English plays to the closing of the theatres by parliamentary order in 1642. The book represents a major revision of E. K. Chambers' ideas of stage devils in The Medieval Stage (1903), arguing that this is not a history of gradual secularization, as scholarship has maintained for the last century, but rather that stage devils were profoundly shaped from the outset by the assumptions of sacred drama and retained this shape virtually unchanged until the advent of permanent commercial theatres near London." "The book spans both medieval and Renaissance drama including the medieval Mystery cylces on the one hand, through to plays by Greene, Marlowe, Shakespeare (1 and 2 Henry VI), Jonson, Middleton and Davenant. An appendix lists devil plays in English from the beginning to 1642."--BOOK JACKET.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...Professor Cox convincingly reevaluates the role of the Devil in early drama and establishes this evil character as in opposition to the social and religious good - in other words, as embodying a function of perversity to fit all situations." The Early Drama, Art, and Music Review

"Cox is a careful and insightful reader of dramatic literature from mystery and morality plays through early Protestant drama to the flowering of the Renaissance stage... Valuable and thought-provoking." Religion and Literature

"This is a good work and I wish I had been able to consult it for my own..." Bibliotheque d' humanisme et Renaissance

"If you wanted to see a God-like figure nonetheless, the players are glad to provide, for a price, a distant, tantalizing glimpse." Christianity and Literature

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521031189
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2006
  • Pages: 268
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

John D. Cox is Professor of English at Hope College, Michigan. He has taught at Westmont College, the University of Victoria BC, Harvard University, Calvin College and the University of California at Berkeley. His books include Shakespeare and the Dramaturgy of Power (1989) and A New History of Early English Drama, co-edited with David Scottt Kastan, which was chosen as the winner of the 1997 Best Book of the Year Award by the American Association for Theatre in Higher Education.
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Table of Contents

List of illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 Stage devils and oppositional thinking 5
2 The devil and the sacred in the English mystery plays 19
3 Stage devils and sacramental community in non-cycle plays 39
4 Stage devils and early social satire 60
5 Protestant devils and the new community 82
6 The devils of Dr. Faustus 107
7 Reacting to Marlowe 127
8 The devil and the sacred on the Shakespearean stage: theatre and belief 150
9 Traditional morality and magical thinking 166
10 New directions 188
App Devil Plays in English, 1350-1642 209
Notes 212
Index 246
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