The Chester Cycle

Sheila Christie

in The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Drama

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199566471
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 The Chester Cycle

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The Chester cycle, a collection of scriptural pageants now fully extant only in five late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century manuscripts, were intricately connected to the time and place in which they were performed. The practical realities facing production shaped the development of the cycle over the nearly two hundred years of its performance, but the play also changed in both content and reception in response to the shifting values of the Tudor period. An early modern concern for social control and moral reform surfaces in the cycle's expansion and revision over the sixteenth century, while the play's depiction of jurisdictional complexities reflects an awareness of competing jurisdictions both locally and nationally. A close examination of the extant text within its changing historical context reveals the Chester cycle's role in defining Cestrian identity and culture.

Keywords: Tudor drama; plays; social control; moral reform; jurisdictions; Cestrian identity; culture; scriptural pageants

Article.  7961 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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