Play time

Gender, anti-Semitism and temporality in medieval biblical drama

By Daisy Black

Play time


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4686-1
  • Pages: 248
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: October 2020
  • BIC Category: Literature, Theatre Studies, Medieval History, Medieval Literature, Literary studies: ancient & classical, Classic & pre-20th century plays, LITERARY CRITICISM / Subjects & Themes / Religion, LITERARY CRITICISM / Medieval, DRAMA / Medieval, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: plays & playwrights, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: classical, early & medieval
  • Series: Manchester Medieval Literature and Culture


This book presents an important re-theorisation of gender and anti-Semitism in medieval biblical drama. It charts conflicts staged between dramatic personae in plays that represent theological transitions, including the Incarnation, Flood, Nativity and Bethlehem slaughter. Interrogating the Christian preoccupation with what it asserted was a superseded Jewish past, it asks how models of supersession and typology are subverted when placed in dramatic dialogue with characters who experience time differently. The book employs theories of gender, performance, anti-Semitism, queer theory and periodisation to complicate readings of early theatre's biblical matriarchs and patriarchs. Dealing with frequently taught plays as well as less familiar material, the book is essential reading for specialist, undergraduate and postgraduate researchers working on medieval performance, gender and queer studies, Jewish-Christian studies and time.


'This book was a pleasure to read. The writing is clear and accessible; the voice is engaging, with sections of lovely phrasing and surprising humour.'
The Review of English Studies


Introduction: what God was doing before he created the world
1 The old man and the pregnant virgin: linear time and Jewish conversion in the N-Town plays
2 Grave new world: fantasies of supersession and explosive questions in the York and Chester Flood plays
3 Time out of joint: queering the Nativity in the Towneley Second Shepherds' Play
4 Passion meets Passover: temporal origami in the Towneley Herod the Great
5 Conclusion: the spectator's God's-eye view


Daisy Black is Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Wolverhampton

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