The Theater as Conflagration

Ellen Mackay

in Persecution, Plague, and Fire

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780226500195
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226500218 | DOI:
The Theater as Conflagration

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This chapter aims to show how eschatology structures the understanding of early modern England's golden age of the stage. To ground this argument, it begins by piecing together the traces of a mode of disappearance. The story is not buried in a murky past, but set in an incandescent future. It begins in the bright light of the “rash world[‘s]” “burn[ing]”—in the fifth act of a work that John Foxe calls his comoedia apocalyptica. Scholars typically introduce Foxe's drama by conceding that it is the lesser work of the martyrologist. Christus Triumphans (1556), the second and last of Foxe's theatrical experiments, is usually thought to deserve its neglect; “the play has no poetic merit,” writes J. F. Mozley, an assessment that is corroborated by its own plot synopsis.

Keywords: eschatology; early modern England; John Foxe; comoedia apocalyptica; Christus Triumphans; drama; stage; theatrical experiment

Chapter.  11316 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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