History,Religion,and Violence: Cultural Contexts for Medieval and Renaissance English Drama / Edition 1

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Professor Davidson is concerned here to chart public theatrical display as a barometer of developments in the English Middle Ages and Renaissance. This book brings together twelve previously published articles on historical and religious aspects of the early English theatre as well as an original essay on Marlowe's Doctor Faustus and the Papacy. Other essays on Renaissance drama focus on Shakespeare against the background of the political and religious crosscurrents of the time. The treatment of medieval drama is dealt with under two headings, the first of which treats sacred violence in the mysteries. The second presents investigations of the cultural contexts for early English drama, from analysis of the claim that the mystery plays were informed by the spirit of Carnival to the signs of Doomsday in the pageant wagons on the streets of Coventry and Chester and in analogous representations in the visual arts.

Author Biography: Clifford Davidson, Professor of English and Medieval Studies, The Medieval Institute, Western Michigan University, USA

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Editorial Reviews

Most of the 13 essays are reprinted from journals and anthologies between 1981 and 2000. They cover religion and historical crosscurrents in Renaissance drama, sacred violence and the mysteries, and cultural contexts for early drama. Among specific concerns are Marlowe, the Papacy, and ; the anxiety of power in ; Circe, Venus, and the Whore of Babylon in ; the sacrifice of Isaac; nudity and the body; sacred blood; Carnival and Lent; idol and image, saints' lives; and signs of Doomsday in drama and art. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780860788829
  • Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Limited
  • Publication date: 6/1/2002
  • Series: Variorum Collected Studies
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.09 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Table of Contents

Pt. I Religion and Historical Crosscurrents in Renaissance Drama
Marlowe, the Papacy, and Doctor Faustus 3
The History of King Lear and the Problem of Belief 24
The Anxiety of Power and Shakespeare's Macbeth 42
Antony and Cleopatra: Circe, Venus, and the Whore of Babylon 64
Pt. II Sacred Violence and the Mysteries
Cain in the Mysteries: The Iconography of Violence 97
The Sacrifice of Isaac in Medieval English Drama 124
Nudity, the Body, and Early English Drama 149
Sacred Blood and the Late Medieval Stage 180
Pt. III Cultural Contexts for Early Drama
Carnival, Lent, and Early English Drama 207
The Medieval Stage and the Antitheatrical Prejudice 226
Idol and Image in Late Medieval Art and Drama 240
Saints in Play: English Theater and Saints' Lives 251
Signs of Doomsday in Drama and Art 267
Index 293
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