Drama in Early Tudor Britain, 1485-1558

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U of Nebraska Press, 1995 - Drama - 394 pages
A time of great changes after nearly a century of foreign wars and civil strife, the Tudor era witnessed a significant transformation of dramatic art. Medieval traditions were modified by the forces of humanism and the Reformation, and a renewed interest in classical models inspired experimentation. Howard B. Norland examines Tudor plays performed between 1485 and 1558, a time when drama reached beyond local, popular, and religious contexts to treat more varied and more secular concerns, culminating in the emergence of comedy and tragedy as major genres. The theater also imported dramas from the Continent, adapting them to English tastes. After establishing the popular dramatic traditions of fifteenth-century Britain, Norland discusses the critical interpretation of the Latin plays of Terence studied in the schools and the views of influential authors such as Erasmus, Vives, and More about what drama should be and do. The heart of the book is its in-depth analyses of individual plays. Norland examines the secularization of the morality play in Skelton's Magnificence, Bale's King John, Respublica, and Redford's Wit and Science and he traces the changes in comic form from Medwall's Fulgens and Lucres through Calisto and Melebea and Johan Johan to Udall's Roister Doister and Gammer Gurton's Needle. The final section examines the first tragedies written in England: Watson's Absolom, Christopherson's Jephthah, and Grimald's Archipropheta. Howard B. Norland is a professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His articles have appeared in Genre, Sixteenth Century Journal, Fifteenth Century Studies, Comparative Drama, and Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies.
 

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Contents

The Civic Drama
16
The Morality Play before the Reformation
37
Folk Drama
48
The Terentian Commentaries
65
Attitudes of Reformers and Humanists
128
THE SECULARIZATION OF THE MORALITY
147
The Prodigal Plays
149
Redfords Wit and Science
171
Calisto and Melebea
244
Johan Johan
255
Udalls Roister Doister
267
Gammer Gurtons Needle
280
Watsons Absalom
295
Christophersons Jephthah
307
Grimalds Archipropheta
319
Conclusion
335

Skeltons Magnificence
175
Bales King John
188
Respublica
199
Lindsays Satire of the Three Estates
210
Medwalls Fulgens and Lucres
233
Notes
343
Works Cited
359
Index
360
viii
368
Copyright

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About the author (1995)

Howard B. Norland is a professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His articles have appeared in "Genre," "Sixteenth Century Journal," "Fifteenth Century Studies," "Comparative Drama," and "Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies."

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