The Morall as an Elizabethan Dramatic Kind: An Exploratory Essay


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

Most students of the drama would agree that the story of the morality play has been oft told and well expressed. Literary historians have surveyed the terrain, mined the ore deemed of value, and displayed their finds to non-specialists glad to forego any firsthand experience of the raw material. The justly famous fifteenth century moralities, to be sure, have sustained their devotees, but few of the many sixteenth century plays have found their way into modern editions, college survey courses, or live productions. With few exceptions (e.g., T. W. Craik, David Bevington), scholars are apologetic when dealing with much of the morality tradition, perhaps in the fear of echoing Aristarchus' dedication to Dullness ("For thee we dim the eyes, and stuff the head/ With all such reading as was never read"). Certainly behind most treatments of these plays lie shared assumptions that the development (to many readers the degeneration) of the moralities has been accurately mapped with little need for new voyages of discovery.

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.