Saints and the Audience in Middle English Biblical Drama

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University of Toronto Press, Jan 1, 2004 - Literary Criticism - 140 pages

The study of saints in medieval biblical drama has often been neglected in favour of the study of sinners - the villains and the rogues. In Saints and the Audience in Middle English Biblical Drama, Chester N. Scoville takes a different tack, examining the language and rhetoric of saintly characters in Middle English biblical plays. Scoville contends that the plays focus attention on the interaction between the divine realm and the human realm, that the saintly characters are key to seeing this interaction, and that the overall function of the plays is to instill in the audience a shared point of view defined both by doctrine and by experience.

By placing the rhetoric of the plays at the centre of his study, Scoville incorporates performative practices and historical contexts into the argument. Language, text, and persuasion are central in the rhetorical experience, as are non-verbal elements such as costume, movement, gesture, and scenery. Saints and the Audience in Middle English Biblical Drama fully and assiduously explains how biblical drama functioned in the society that experienced it.


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About the author (2004)

Chester N. Scoville is a lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Toronto at Mississauga.

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