Reference > Cambridge History > The Drama to 1642, Part One > The Early Religious Drama > The Harrowing of Hell
  Evidence of the popularity of the Religious Drama Mysteries and their sources: traditional and original elements; mingling of comic with tragic incidents  

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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume V. The Drama to 1642, Part One.

III. The Early Religious Drama.

§ 8. The Harrowing of Hell.


A poem on Christ’s descent to hell, from the middle of the thirteenth century (The Harrowing of Hell), which has often been called the oldest English drama, does not, in reality, belong to this species; it is, for the most part, in dialogue; but, in the beginning, the author says: “A strif will I tellen on, Of Jesu and of Satan”; and, at the end, he likewise speaks in his own person. Evidently, the poem was intended to be delivered, with changes of voice, by a professional reciter—an art that had been brought to great perfection by the wandering Jongleurs.   10

CONTENTS · VOLUME CONTENTS · INDEX OF ALL CHAPTERS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  Evidence of the popularity of the Religious Drama Mysteries and their sources: traditional and original elements; mingling of comic with tragic incidents  
 
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