The Towneley Cycle

Unity and Diversity

Author(s) Peter Happé

Language: English

Genre(s): History

Series: Religion and Culture in the Middle Ages

  • May 2007 · 226 pages ·216x146mm

  • · Hardback - 9780708320488

About The Book

Provides an overview of and introduction to the Towneley cycle of plays, a 32-play cycle written in c 1500, which begins with the fall of Lucifer and ends with the Last Judgement, and was performed as part of the festival of Corpus Christi in Wakefield. This volume examines the cycle's textual history, and discusses issues of language and style.


'Happe has written an admirable study, which is attractively produced by its publisher. There will be no justice if it is not for many years the book on the Towneley plays.'Andrew Breeze, University of Navarre, Pamplona, MLR, 103.3, 2008 'This book offers rich examples for the study of primary theatre texts and secondary civic documents. Happe's book significantly updates A. C. Cawley's earlier efforts on the Towneley cycle, and no future study of this important manuscript will be complete without reference to his work.' John Warrick, Theatre Notebook, Vol. 62, No. 3


Introduction: The Problem of Unity PART ONE: THE TEXT 1. Prologue: Place and Date 1.1 The Manuscript 1.2 York and Towneley 1.3 Provenances and Authorship 1.4 The Wakefield Master PART TWO: PERFORMING THE CYCLE 2. Prologue: Some Questions of Performance 2.1 Dramaturgy 2.2 Modern Revivals 2.3 Special Features PART THREE: IDEOLOGIES AND INTERPRETATIVE STRATEGIES 3. Prologue: Interpretations 3.1 Gender 3.2 Religion and Popular Culture 3.2.1 Religion 3.2.2 Popular Culture 3.3 Social Contexts 3.4 Interrelations in the Psychology of Evil 3.5 Good Men and Women PART FOUR: NEGOTIATING THE TEXT 4 . Prologue 4.1 Development 4.2 Playing and Reception 4.3 Interpretations and Structure

About the Author(s)

Author(s): Peter Happé

Dr Peter Happé is a Visiting Fellow in English at the University of Southampton.

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