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Abstract

The York Corpus Christi play cycle was a remarkably long-lived civic event requiring concerted and enthusiastic local effort. The plays dramatized sacred history from Creation to Doomsday. Sponsored by the city Corporation rather than the Church, they were designated as a work of charity for the benefit of the spectators. Their object was not didactic but rather a representation of salvation history that would be held in the memory of participants and spectators for their spiritual benefit. Designed to make the past present, they were expected to reinforce cultural memory of the Christian narrative, especially the events at the centre of history (the time of Jesus the Saviour). A goal was the formation of civic identity as catholic Christians. The plays, using canonical and other sources available to the authors of the texts, provided a view of the past from biblical history that would make the central events of past salvation history to be present for spectators. In conclusion, the Doomsday play brought to mind that which was expected to come at the end of history.


In: Staging Scripture

Abstract

The York Corpus Christi play cycle was a remarkably long-lived civic event requiring concerted and enthusiastic local effort. The plays dramatized sacred history from Creation to Doomsday. Sponsored by the city Corporation rather than the Church, they were designated as a work of charity for the benefit of the spectators. Their object was not didactic but rather a representation of salvation history that would be held in the memory of participants and spectators for their spiritual benefit. Designed to make the past present, they were expected to reinforce cultural memory of the Christian narrative, especially the events at the centre of history (the time of Jesus the Saviour). A goal was the formation of civic identity as catholic Christians. The plays, using canonical and other sources available to the authors of the texts, provided a view of the past from biblical history that would make the central events of past salvation history to be present for spectators. In conclusion, the Doomsday play brought to mind that which was expected to come at the end of history.


In: Staging Scripture
Volume Editors: and
This edition of John Lydgate’s Dance of Death offers a detailed comparison of the different text versions, a new scholarly edition and translation of Guy Marchant’s 1485 French Danse Macabre text, and an art-historical analysis of its woodcut illustrations.
It addresses the cultural context and historical circumstances of Lydgate’s poem and its model, the mural of 1424-25 with accompanying French poem in Paris, as well as their precursors, notably the Vado mori poems and the Legend of the Three Living and the Three Dead. It discusses authorship, the personification and vizualisation of Death, and the wider dissemination of the Dance. The edited texts include commentaries, notes, and a glossary.
In: John Lydgate, The Dance of Death, and its model, the French Danse Macabre