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The Growth of English Drama   By: (1880-)

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THE GROWTH OF ENGLISH DRAMA

by

ARNOLD WYNNE, M.A.

Oxford At the Clarendon Press Printed in England At the Oxford University Press by John Johnson Printer to the University Impression of 1927 First edition, 1914

PREFACE

In spite of the fact that an almost superabundant literature of exposition has gathered round early English drama, there is, I believe, still room for this book. Much criticism is available. But the student commonly searches through it in vain for details of the plots and characters, and specimens of the verse, of interludes and plays which time, opportunity, and publishers combine to withhold from him. Notable exceptions to this generalization exist. Such are Sir A.W. Ward's monumental English Dramatic Literature , and that delightful volume, J.A. Symonds' Shakespeare's Predecessors ; but the former extends its survey far beyond the limits of early drama, while the latter too often passes by with brief mention works concerning which the reader would gladly hear more. Some authors have written very fully, but upon only a section of pre Shakespearian dramatic work. Of others it may generally be said that their purposes limit to criticism their treatment of all but the best known plays. The present volume attempts a more comprehensive plan. It presents, side by side with criticism, such data as may enable the reader to form an independent judgment. Possibly for the first time in a book of this scope almost all the plays of the University Wits receive separate consideration, while such familiar titles as Hick Scorner , Gammer Gurton's Needle , and The Misfortunes of Arthur cease to be mere names appended to an argument. As a consequence it has been possible to examine in detail the influence of such men as Heywood, Udall, Sackville, and Kyd, and to trace from its beginning, with much closer observation than a more general method permits, the evolution of the Elizabethan drama.

I have read the works of my predecessors carefully, and humbly acknowledge my indebtedness to such authorities as Ten Brink and Ward. From Mr. Pollard's edition of certain English Miracle Plays I have borrowed one or two quotations, in addition to information gathered from his admirable introduction. Particularly am I under an obligation to Mr. Chambers, upon whose Mediaeval Stage my first chapter is chiefly based. To the genius of J.A. Symonds I tender homage.

For most generous and highly valued help as critic and reviser of my manuscript I thank my colleague, Mr. J.L.W. Stock.

ARNOLD WYNNE.

SOUTH AFRICAN COLLEGE, CAPE TOWN.

CONTENTS

PAGE CHAPTER I EARLY CHURCH DRAMA ON THE CONTINENT 9

CHAPTER II ENGLISH MIRACLE PLAYS 22

CHAPTER III MORALITIES AND INTERLUDES 51

CHAPTER IV RISE OF COMEDY AND TRAGEDY 87

CHAPTER V COMEDY: LYLY, GREENE, PEELE, NASH 124

CHAPTER VI TRAGEDY: LODGE, KYD, MARLOWE, Arden of Feversham 193

APPENDIX THE ELIZABETHAN STAGE 270

INDEX 277

CHAPTER I

EARLY CHURCH DRAMA ON THE CONTINENT

The old Classical Drama of Greece and Rome died, surfeited with horror and uncleanness. Centuries rolled by, and then, when the Old Drama was no more remembered save by the scholarly few, there was born into the world the New Drama. By a curious circumstance its nurse was the same Christian Church that had thrust its predecessor into the grave.

A man may dig his spade haphazard into the earth and by that act liberate a small stream which shall become a mighty river. Not less casual perhaps, certainly not less momentous in its consequences, was the first attempt, by some enterprising ecclesiastic, to enliven the hardly understood Latin service of the Church. Who the innovator was is unrecorded. The form of his innovation, however, may be guessed from this, that even in the fifth century human tableaux had a place in the Church service on festival occasions... Continue reading book >>




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