Chief Pre-Shakespearean Dramas: A Selection of Plays Illustrating the History of the English Drama from Its Origin down to Shakespeare

Chief Pre-Shakespearean Dramas: A Selection of Plays Illustrating the History of the English Drama from Its Origin down to Shakespeare

Chief Pre-Shakespearean Dramas: A Selection of Plays Illustrating the History of the English Drama from Its Origin down to Shakespeare

Chief Pre-Shakespearean Dramas: A Selection of Plays Illustrating the History of the English Drama from Its Origin down to Shakespeare

Excerpt

This book is the result of an invitation from the publishers to prepare for their well-known series of collected plays a volume to cover the period lying before that represented in Professor Neilson Chief Elizabethan Dramatists. I have aimed to tell, as clearly as may be in selections, the story of the origin and development of the English drama, to render the plays as intelligible and as vivid to college students as I could, and to make the texts so accurate as to be of genuine service to scholars. In order clearly to illustrate the origin of the drama, I have necessarily had to include a few liturgical plays from the Continent, since the corresponding English plays, though known to have existed, have not survived; here my procedure is justified by the fact that the early drama, as a part of the service of the Roman Church, was international in its development. In order to render the plays intelligible to college students, I have furnished translations of the mediæval Latin texts, have modernized the punctuation, have added, in brackets, stagedirections, and have explained in footnotes all words that seemed to offer difficulty. Finally, in order to make the texts accurate and serviceable, I have tried to print from the most authoritative sources, and have spared no pains in collating the proofs with the originals. In general, the proofs have been compared at least twice with the indicated sources; and the result, I hope, will gain for the volume the confidence of scholars.

I wish to acknowledge, as of right due, my indebtedness to the excellent collection of a similar nature, Specimens of the Pre-Shakespearean Drama, issued by my former teacher, Professor John M. Manly, to whose instruction and abiding inspiration I owe more than I can well express. Without his earlier labors in charting the sea, the present volume would have been more difficult to prepare, and not nearly so effective. Some of my detailed indebtedness I have been able to indicate in the footnotes, but not all; and hence I here wish to make this general acknowledgment.

To various friends and colleagues I am also under obligation for assistance generously rendered. In translating the very bad Latin of some of the liturgical texts, I have had valuable aid from Professor George Lincoln Burr and Professor Charles Love Durham; in elucidating difficult words in the Middle . . .

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