Parnassus Plays

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The name given to a trilogy produced between 1598 and 1602 by students of St John's College, Cambridge, consisting of The Pilgrimage to Parnassus and The Returne from Parnassus, the latter apparently in two parts. Authorship has not been established; they have been attributed to J. Day and, more recently, to John Weever of Queens' and J. Hall. They treat amusingly of the attempts of a group of young men (one apparently modelled on Nashe) to resist temptation and to gain preferment or at least a livelihood, and are full of allusions to contemporary literature. In the third more satirical section the students are shown on their way to London, learning how to catch a patron or cheat a tradesman, and following menial occupations, which they finally abandon in discouragement and ‘returne’ to Cambridge. They were first published as a whole in the edition by J. B. Leishman (1949).

Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism.

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