Reference > Cambridge History > The Drama to 1642, Part One > Early English Comedy > Doubtful plays: The Pardoner and the Frere and Johan Johan
  His narrative power The collision of romantic and didactic tendencies in Tudor Drama  

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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.

V. Early English Comedy.

§ 7. Doubtful plays: The Pardoner and the Frere and Johan Johan.


But, if The pardoner and the frere and Johan Johan are placed to his credit, the range of his achievement is materially widened. It must be allowed that both plays differ largely from Heywood’s acknowledged pieces in one respect. The latter all end, as has been seen, upon an edifying note; but in The pardoner and the frere and Johan Johan, scoundrels and sinners go off triumphant. This, however may be due to the influence of French farce; while, in general conception of character, in handling of metre and in peculiarities of vocabulary and nomenclature  10  there is close affinity between the two plays and Heywood’s dialogues and interludes, especially The foure P. P. The balance of evidence is in favour of his authorship of the anonymous pieces.   13

Note 10. Some of these points have not been sufficiently noted. Thus, Heywood is fond of alluding to unfamiliar saints and shrines. The locus classicus is in the palmer’s opening speech in The foure P. P. Among the shrines mentioned is the obscure one of “our Lady at Crome,” by whom Johan is found swearing in his opening speech. Afterwards, Johan appeals to “swete Saynt Dyryk,” and the priest mentions the shrine of “Saynt Modwin,” which seems to have been at Burton-on-Trent. Two of the sham relics exhibited by the pardoner in The foure P. P., “the great toe of the Trinite” and “of all Hallows the bless’d jaw bone” reappear (as Swoboda has noted) among the stock-in-trade of his colleague in The pardoner and the frere. But, possibly, more indicative of a single hand is the parallelism in the respective lists of the “buttocke bone of Pentecoste” and the “arm of sweet Saint Sunday,” and of the eyetooth of the Great Turk, which prevents blindness, and the “brayn pan” of “Saynt Myghell,” a preservative against headache. It is worth noting, too, that the rare word “nyfuls,” used in Wether, reappears in Johan Johan, and that the phrase “VII yeare,” for an indefinite period of time, occurs in Wether, Johan Johan, and The pardoner and the frere. [ back ]

CONTENTS · VOLUME CONTENTS · INDEX OF ALL CHAPTERS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  His narrative power The collision of romantic and didactic tendencies in Tudor Drama  
 
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