The N-Town Plays
Following mention of the N-Town cycle of fifteenth-century mystery plays in previous issues of Vidimus, readers may be interested in a major study of these medieval dramas recently published by the Medieval Institute, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, (US). The N-Town plays are one of the four great mystery play cycles – along with those of York, Chester and Towneley – and seem to have been written and performed in East Anglia. Studies of the text suggest that the plays stressed literacy, religious instruction, and female piety, traits that might connect them to local religious and parish guilds, which in turn, may have sponsored the plays. Glass painters may even have participated in some of the plays.
The N-Town Plays edited by Douglas Sugano with assistance by Victor I. Scherb, examines the texts of an independent Mary play, parts one and two of an independent Passion play, and an independent Assumption of Mary play, as well as ten play subjects that appear in no other English cycles: the killing of Lamech in the Noah play, the Root of Jesse, the story of Joachim and Anne, the Presentation of Mary in the Temple, the Parliament of Heaven, the Trial of Mary and Joseph, the scene of Mary and the cherry tree in the Nativity play, the Death of Herod, the scene of Veronica’s handkerchief in the Procession to Calvary, and the appearance of the risen Christ to the Virgin Mary in her Assumption play. 2007, pp. viii + 506. ISBN 978-1-58044-116-2 (paperbound only) $25.00. For more information visit the publisher’s website.
A lavishly illustrated catalogue to accompany the exhibition of works by the German Renaissance painter Lucas Cranach the Elder showing until 8 June at the Royal Academy of Arts in London is now available. 320 pp., 155 ills. Hardback £40, softback £24.95. Available from the Royal Academy Bookshop.