The Chester Cycle in Context, 1555-1575 considers the implications of recent archival research which has profoundly changed our view of the continuation of performances of Chester's civic biblical play cycle into the reign of Elizabeth I. Scholars now view the decline and ultimate abandonment of civic religious drama as the result of a complex network of local pressures, heavily dependent upon individual civic and ecclesiastical authorities, rather than a result of a nation-wide policy of suppression, as had previously been assumed.
’Reading [the essays] from first to last is an enriching experience: its authors all have the most relevant materials at their fingertips (such as the recently discovered letter of Christopher Goodman), and all are equally sensitive to the necessity of understanding the late Chester Whitsun play as a unique artifact enacted within a specific urban, social, and religious context.’ Renaissance Quarterly ’The Chester Cycle in Context breaks new ground in relation to the Chester plays and will reinvigorate research on the cycle. It is also a collection that speaks across early drama studies, encourages cross-period and interdisciplinary enquiry, and highlights drama as central to the religious and political negotiations of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century England.’ Early Theatre
Contents: Introduction: the Chester Cycle in context, David Klausner, Helen Ostovich and Jessica Dell; Part 1 The Chester Script: The text of the Chester plays in 1572: a conjectural re-construction, Alexandra F. Johnston; In the beginning! A new look at Chester Play One, lines 1-51, David Mills in conjunction with Joy Mills. Part 2 Faith and Doubt: Doubt and religious drama across 16th-century England, or did the Middle Ages believe in their plays?, Erin E. Kelly; Dice at Chester’s Passion, Matthew Sergi; ’Whye ys thy cloathinge nowe so reedd?’: salvific blood in the Chester Ascension, John T. Sebastian; Affective piety: a 'method' for medieval actors in the Chester Cycle, Margaret Rogerson. Part 3 Elizabethan Religion(s): The Chester Cycle and early Elizabethan religion, Paul Whitfield White; ’Erazed in the booke’?: periodization and the material text of the Chester Banns, Kurt A. Schreyer. Part 4 Space and Place in Chester: When in Rome: shifting conceptions of the Chester Cycle’s Roman references in pre- and post-Reformation England, Sheila Christie; Exegesis in the city: the Chester plays and earlier Chester writing, Mark Faulkner; Maintaining the realm: city, commonwealth, and crown in Chester’s midsummer plays, Heather S. Mitchell-Buck. Afterword: Origins and continuities: F.M. Salter and the Chester plays, JoAnna Dutker; Bibliography; Index.