Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The Coventry Corpus Christi Plays

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The Coventry Corpus Christi Plays

Article excerpt

The Coventry Corpus Christi Pays, ed. Pamela M. King and Clifford Davidson, Early Drama, Art and Music Monograph Series 27 (Kalamazoo: Western Michigan University, Medieval Institute Publications, 2000). xii + 326 pp., 7 illustrations over 5 pp. ISBN 1-58044-055-X $35.00 (hard covers); 158044-056-8, $15.00(p/b).

This is an excellent new edition of the surviving Coventry Corpus Christi plays. It follows the principles of an EETS edition and incorporates a broad range of materials in an effort to surmount the difficulties presented by the fact that only two of the plays from the Coventry cycle survive, the Shearmen and Taylors' play and the Weavers' play respectively - and the former only in a nineteenth-century transcription. The volume includes an excellent introduction to the Coventry plays, which is particularly strong on economic details. There are editions with full apparatus of both surviving plays, including two earlier surviving fragments of the Weavers' play. Pamela King and Clifford Davidson also present a great deal of data, ingeniously culled from multiple sources, about plays that do not survive. Supporting materials include discussions of royal entries, musical notation, materials from other play cycles (e.g. selections from Doctors plays), and extensive (and high-quality) notes and textual apparatus, as well as a short but well-chosen select bibliography.

This volume does much to shore up the notion that the Coventry cycle was one of the most significant and - as King has argued previously - ambitious of the cycles. …

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