Volume Forty (2018): Summaries

Meg Twycross

Producing the Journal over Forty Years
METh 40 (2018) 4-6.


Traces the sometimes challenging changes in the practicalities of producing a learned journal from 1979 to 2019 through a publishing revolution on a Gutenberg scale.

Philip Butterworth & Michael Spence

William Parnell, supplier of staging and ingenious devices, and his role in the visit of Elizabeth Woodville to Norwich in 1469
METh 40 (2018) 7-65.


Analyses the principal document from the Norwich Chamberlains’ Account Books (1469-1490) that records expenses incurred for the entry of Elizabeth Woodville into Norwich in 1469. These financial accounts are presented in full for the first time, in the original Latin with a facing-page translation, with a detailed introductory discussion. Many skilled people were engaged in preparing, building and recovering materials used in the construction of two stations, at the Westwyck Gate and the gates of the Dominican Friary. Perhaps the most skilful of these was William Parnell from Ipswich, who operated as a 'property player' to the event.


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Aurélie Blanc & Olivia Robinson

The Huy Nativity from the Seventeenth to the Twenty-First Century: Translation, Play-Back, and Pray-Back
METh 40 (2018) 66-97.


In the first half of the seventeenth century, a community of Burgundian Carmelite nuns translated and adapted a late fifteenth-century playscript which had been copied by some of their forebears, producing a new version of their house’s medieval Christmas play. This article chronicles the experiences of two researchers who worked together to translate the seventeenth-century script into contemporary English for performance. Beginning with those experiences, it examines some of the relationships between the two versions of the play, explores the ways in which contemporary performance can enhance our understanding of it, and situates the seventeenth-century play in the context of the convent’s commemorative practices and traditions.


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John Marshall

A ‘Gladnes’ of Robin Hood’s Men: Henry VIII Entertains Queen Katherine
METh 40 (2018) 98-121.


On the morning of Friday, 18 January 1510, Henry VIII, with 11 of his courtiers burst into the Queen’s Chamber in Westminster Palace, where the Queen and her ‘Ladies’ were gathered, to present a ‘gladnes’ of Robin Hood’s men. The event is recorded in Hall’s Chronicle and in Richard Gibson’s Revels accounts. It has often been referred to as evidence of the newly married and crowned king’s love of ‘pastimes’, both public and private. Unfortunately, the details are frequently misrepresented or misunderstood. This article not only examines the contemporary descriptions of the occasion but explores the personnel involved, the precise locations, the likely type of activity, and the courtly and marriage precepts articulated through costume and action. As an epilogue, the article considers the probable exposure of the prince and king to the Robin Hood myth in literature, plays and games, and the naming of dogs.


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Clare Egan

Reading Mankind in a Culture of Defamation
METh 40 (2018) 122-154.




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Meg Twycross


Pageant waggon plays, performed out of doors in high summer, sometimes call, improbably at first sight, for the sudden appearance of a great light, usually emanating from God or Christ. Drawing on a wide range of contemporary evidence, this article explores how, with reflectors, the light of the sun could have been used to produce some dazzling effects, and shows how in the York pageants of the Nativity, the Transfiguration, and the Creation and Fall of the Angels, this light is not only theatrically exciting but thematically significant. The second part will look at the position of the sun at various stages of Corpus Christi Day, which involves a consideration of the time-frame of the whole days’ events.


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