The Literary Relations of England and Germany in the Seventeenth Century

L. A. Willoughby, Gilbert Waterhouse
1915 Modern Language Review  
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more » ... aus Gnaden sollst du selig werden.' Quite rightly, however, the Spiel von den Zehn Jungfern is not considered as a drama in the interests of the Reformation, the foolish virgins falling through the absence of 'good works.' By restricting his investigations in some parts to the longer 'mysteres' of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, he avoids the violently Protestant plays of the Swiss, although he does not only deal with those produced 'en Allemagne' as his title suggests. The title of the second dissertation is somewhat misleading. Thus the Apocrypha of the Old Testament which furnished so many dramatic themes such as Susannah, Tobias and Judith is completely excluded f'om its scope. Three of the four chapters treat of the Gospel of Nicodemus, whilst the last is devoted to the origin of the one play de Transitu Beatae Mliariae Virginis (Himmelfart Marid). Wtilcker's suggestions with regard to the sources of some incidents in the passion plays have been worked out in Dr Duriez' convincing analysis, particularly of scenes like the deliverance of Joseph of Arimathaea and the splendid vision of the ' descensus Christi ad inferos.' A short statement as to the nature and scope of this gospel would have simplified the matter for the non-theologian. Thus the Gesta Pilati are cited and quoted from without our being told that the first sixteen chapters go by that name; whilst the relation of the popular historical works of Jacobus de Voragine and St Vincent de Beauvais to the apocrypha is not indicated, for it was to these writers that the wide spread of this gospel was due, an influence which is reflected in the Grail romances. Wiilcker's study still remains as a necessary introduction to this thesis. In Dr Duriez we miss a sympathetic attitude towards the more pagan elements of the mediaeval stage, like the 'diableries' and the comic 'mercator' (' unguentarius ') of the Easter plays, which, according to Mr E. K. Chambers, whose work on the mediaeval stage is nowhere cited, 'did so much to enliven the later German plays,' and were 'a thoroughly characteristic product of the mediaeval folk-spirit,' giving the mysteries their hold on the populace to an extent that critics are often loath to admit. Nevertheless Dr Duriez has, by his industry and his learning, attained his aim and said the last word on 'die theologische Bildung der deutschen Dramatiker des Mittelalters.'
doi:10.2307/3712966 fatcat:lhocryd46razjc22ecsish4fpq