Article Title



Grace Tiffany


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

This collection of essays from new and established scholars confronts two issues of recurrent interest in Renaissance studies: the impact of religious change on early modem. English drama, and the impact of early modem English drama on religious change. Of course, scholars have long been fascinated with the effect sixteenth-century religious developments had on the early Tudor and Elizabethan stage. But most contemporary critical writings on Reformation English drama differ profoundly from much earlier work of this kind, in several respects. First, much current work reveals scholars' interest in the correspondences rather than the clashes between traditional and reformed religion, and hence in the links between "old" and "new" religious messages embodied in stage play. Such critical work seeks to show that Protestant playwrights communicated enduring spiritual truths through revised dramatic forms: forms that responded to particular social and political aspects of the sixteenth-century religious struggle. Second, much current work on drama and religion seeks to expose how drama not only reflected new developments in religious thought but also actively fostered such changes. Third and most important, new work shows scholars moving farther and farther from the older critical model which categorizes medieval drama as religious and Renaissance drama as secular. In fact, the seven articles which comprise this volume demonstrate Reformation playwrights' lively interest in the nature of God, in government's responsibility to uphold divine law, and in the mysterious connection between Christian Providence and human choice.

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