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A consciousness of the past has been an essential determinant of community in the city of Chester, England. This awareness and fascination has been bolstered by a strong civic tradition of drama. In particular, the city's Whitsun Plays have been a vehicle for communicating the myth of the city's medieval heritage, helping to reinforce the sense of history that is part of Chester's identity.
Building up the material in REED: Chester, David Mills has produced a detailed study of Chester's Whitsun Plays in their local, physical, social, political, cultural, and religious context. A continuum has survived between the Middle Ages and the present day, providing not only an understanding of the plays themselves, but a narrative of the ways in which manuscripts survive and the functions that they serve. The continued performance of these plays is significant of modern play revivals as a political and sociological phenomenon, demonstrating the power that these rituals and plays still hold.
Recycling the Cycle is not only a look at how medieval and Renaissance cultural traditions developed and were maintained over centuries, but an insight into how those traditions can stay fresh and relevant, even today.
|1||Approaches to Early Drama||3|
|2||Time and Space in Tudor Chester||20|
|3||Writing the Record||39|
|4||A Spectrum of Ceremonial and Entertainment||57|
|5||The Midsummer Celebrations||79|
|6||Religious Feasts and Festivals||101|
|7||Professionalism, Commercialism, and Self-Advertisement||125|
|8||The Past in the Present: The Text of the Whitsun Plays||153|
|9||Manuscripts, Scribes, and Owners||179|
|10||Medievalism and Revival||199|