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The Towneley and Chester Plays of the Shepherds: The Dynamic Interweaving of Power, Conflict, and Destiny

The Towneley and Chester Plays of the Shepherds: The Dynamic Interweaving of Power, Conflict, and... by Norma Kroll HE two Wakefield Shepherds' plays in the Towneley cycle and the Shepherds' play in the Chester cycle offer far more complex and subtle representations of human nature, power, and destiny than scholars of medieval drama have yet recognized.1 These versions of the rustics' exploits differ notably from each other, but, like the brief York and N-Town equivalents, they all end in scenes of the shepherds' adoration of the infant Jesus. Scholars tend to regard these encounters between the divine and the human as the point of the actions and to treat the characters' antics as typological prefigurations of Christ's birth.2 1 All citations from the Towneley and Chester Shepherds' plays are from the following editions: Martin Stevens and A. C. Cawley, eds., The Towneley Plays, 2 vols., Early English Text Society s.s. 13 and 14 (London: Oxford University Press, 1994); and Robert M. Luminsky and David Mills, eds., The Chester Mystery Cycle, 2 vols., Early English Text Society s.s. 3 and 9 (London: Oxford University Press, 1974 and 1986). 2 The definitive study of medieval typology is Erich Auerbach's ``Figura,'' in Scenes from the Drama of European Literature, trans. Ralph Manheim (New York: Meridian, 1959), http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Studies in Philology University of North Carolina Press

The Towneley and Chester Plays of the Shepherds: The Dynamic Interweaving of Power, Conflict, and Destiny

Studies in Philology , Volume 100 (3) – Apr 8, 2003

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University of North Carolina Press
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Copyright © 2003 by The University of North Carolina Press.
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1543-0383
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Abstract

by Norma Kroll HE two Wakefield Shepherds' plays in the Towneley cycle and the Shepherds' play in the Chester cycle offer far more complex and subtle representations of human nature, power, and destiny than scholars of medieval drama have yet recognized.1 These versions of the rustics' exploits differ notably from each other, but, like the brief York and N-Town equivalents, they all end in scenes of the shepherds' adoration of the infant Jesus. Scholars tend to regard these encounters between the divine and the human as the point of the actions and to treat the characters' antics as typological prefigurations of Christ's birth.2 1 All citations from the Towneley and Chester Shepherds' plays are from the following editions: Martin Stevens and A. C. Cawley, eds., The Towneley Plays, 2 vols., Early English Text Society s.s. 13 and 14 (London: Oxford University Press, 1994); and Robert M. Luminsky and David Mills, eds., The Chester Mystery Cycle, 2 vols., Early English Text Society s.s. 3 and 9 (London: Oxford University Press, 1974 and 1986). 2 The definitive study of medieval typology is Erich Auerbach's ``Figura,'' in Scenes from the Drama of European Literature, trans. Ralph Manheim (New York: Meridian, 1959),

Journal

Studies in PhilologyUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Apr 8, 2003

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