The N-Town Play: Drama and Liturgy in Medieval East Anglia

May 2009
1 black and white, 1 line illustrations
264 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Westfield Medieval Studies
ISBN: 9781843841890
Format: Hardback
Library eBook

The N-Town Play: Drama and Liturgy in Medieval East Anglia

Penny Granger

First full examination of the N-Town Play, arguing for its reappraisal as a work of private devotion as well as public performance.

The dramatic text known as the N-Town Play, from fifteenth-century East Anglia, is a significant but mysterious compilation of late-medieval vernacular theatre. It differs radically from the better-known Northern medieval mystery plays in that it offers a double cycle of Christ's life together with that of the Virgin Mary, incorporating much liturgical material.
This book, the first full-length study to be devoted to the N-Town Play, provides a complete reassessment of the play, setting it in its geographical, religious and political context. The author argues that liturgy, an essential part of the experience of medieval people, is key to understanding the N-Town Play, and that it is best seen as a double anthology, of liturgy within drama. She offers a detailed, but clear and accessible, presentation of this liturgical dimension, which not only guides the reader through the N-Town Play and its liturgical material, but contributes to the appreciation of other medieval texts. In particular, its discussion of the Eucharist raises questions about the play's supposed orthodoxy within the context of Lollard controversies.

PENNY GRANGER gained her PhD from the University of East Anglia.

An e-book version of this title is available (9781846157493), to libraries through a number of trusted suppliers. See here for a full list of our partners.

Table of Contents

Setting the Scene
Text in Context
Liturgy in play
Other connections
The evolution of the N-Town Play and its audience


Contributes many fascinating points to the ongoing debates on dramaturgy, orthodoxy, and the devotional lives of women in medieval East Anglia. MEDIUM AEVUM

There is much of compelling interest here. [It] offers both students and scholars of early English drama a fresh approach to an important and understudied dramatic text. SPECULUM

Such an ambitious work is certainly welcome to late medieval drama. COMPARATIVE DRAMA

Granger's study is lively and suggestive, supported by wide-ranging reference to scholarship in the areas of medieval theatre, the liturgy and fifteenth-century East Anglian culture and piety. TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

Also in Series