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Tony Harrison: Plays One: the Mysteries

by Harrison, Tony

  • ISBN: 9780571197071
  • ISBN10: 0571197078

Tony Harrison: Plays One: the Mysteries

by Harrison, Tony

  • List Price: $14.00
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber
  • Publish date: 12/01/2001
  • ISBN: 9780571197071
  • ISBN10: 0571197078
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Description: Introduction by Bernard O'Donaghue.

Bold, contemporary verse adaptations of the medieval Mystery Plays by England's greatest modern theatrical poet.

This first collection of Tony Harrison's poetry for the stage compiles his masterly adaptations of various medieval mystery plays. Rendered in highly alliterative verse, Harrison's plays are, as were their medieval counterparts, intended to make colloquial Northern English language and form a vehicle for the profound religious texts that describe the biblical epic of salvation. Original documents from the Middle Ages are the basis for Harrison's three-part cycle: The Nativity encompasses Creation, The Expulsion, The Flood, Abraham and Isaac, and The Birth of Christ; The Passion covers The Life and Crucifixion of Christ; and Doomsday takes in The Harrowing of Hell and The Last Judgment. Traditionally, mystery plays were acted and produced by the trade guilds, and Harrison recalls this in his use of props: a forklift transports God, a screwdriver serves as Christ's scepter, and a manhole cover is the mouth of Hell.

Drawing on pre-Renaissance English religious, linguistic, and theatrical tradition, these plays are part of a movement to celebrate English literature as it existed before the widespread cultural influence of continental Europe. In addition, this volume contains an Introduction that places these classic works in the context both of their medieval origins and of Harrison's own poetry.

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