Theatre and Humanism: English Drama in the Sixteenth Century

By Kent Cartwright | Go to book overview
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In The Defence of Poetry, Sidney argues that poets “move” their readers to goodness through delight; related phrases such as “heart-ravishing knowledge” show Sidney's sense of poetry's active power (Sir Philip Sidney, A Defence of Poetry, ed. Jan Van Dorsten [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1966], pp. 27, 21). Elyot likewise conceives of literature as “inflam[ing]” its readers to emulate models of virtue (Sir Thomas Elyot, The Boke named The Gouernour, ed. Henry Herbert Stephen Croft [London: Kegan Paul, Trench, and Co., 1883], vol. 1, p. 59).
William Gager, “To the Critic, Ulysses Returned in William Gager: The

Complete Works, ed. and trans. Dana F. Sutton, vol. 2: The Shrovetide Plays (New York: Garland Press, 1994), p. 23.

Gager, Ulysses Returned, t.p.
See, for example, C. F. Tucker Brooke, The Tudor Drama: A History of

English National Drama to the Retirement of Shakespeare (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1911); T. W. Baldwin, William Shakspere's Small Latin & Lesse Greeke, 2 vols. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1944); T. W. Baldwin, Shakspere's Five-Act Structure: Shakspere's Early Plays on the Background of Renaissance Theories of Five-Act Structure from 1470 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1947); and Madeleine Doran, Endeavors of Art: A Study of Form in Elizabethan Drama (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1954).

David M. Bevington, From Mankind to Marlowe: Growth of Structure in the Popular Drama of Tudor England (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1962), p. 1.
Bevington, From Mankind to Marlowe, p. 3.
The small number of actors combines with the moralities' panoramic scale to produce characteristic features: scenes of godly forces alternating with scenes of the Vices; acting that emphasizes energy and adaptability; multiple features compressed into single characters; “progressive suppression” of certain characters and themes so as to make room for others; and repetition of details in a loosely knit,


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