Chronicle Plays Criticism: Development Of The Genre - Essay

Felix Emmanuel Schelling (essay date 1902)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Schelling, Felix Emmanuel. “Popular Playwrights: Modifications of the Type.” In The English Chronicle Play: A Study in the Popular Historical Literature Environing Shakespeare, pp. 134-71. New York: MacMillan Company, 1902.

[In this essay, Schelling focuses on the chronicle plays of the later 1590s and the new elements these works introduced to the genre.]

As we have seen above, it was during the last decade of the [sixteenth] century that the Chronicle Play flourished in its greatest luxuriance. We have already investigated the part which Shakespeare's earlier contemporaries, Marlowe, Greene and Peele, played in the development of this species of drama....

(The entire section is 9198 words.)

William A. Armstrong (essay date 1965)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Armstrong, William A. Introduction to Elizabethan History Plays, pp. vii-xv. London: Oxford University Press, 1965.

[In the following the introduction to a collection of early English chronicle plays, Armstrong details the importance of John Bale's Kynge Johan as one of the first chronicle plays, then discusses later works in the genre, including Edward III, Woodstock, John Ford's Perkin Warbeck, and Robert Davenport's King John and Matilda.]

Great enterprises often have unexpected origins. The creative process which culminated in Shakespeare's history plays was probably set in motion by William Tyndale's terse but pointed criticism of...

(The entire section is 2817 words.)

Irving Ribner (essay date 1965)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Ribner, Irving. “The Emergence of a Dramatic Genre.” In The English History Play in the Age of Shakespeare, pp. 30-64. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1965.

[In this essay, Ribner traces the roots of the Renaissance chronicle plays back to medieval morality plays and the classical tradition of Senecan drama.]

To trace the history play to its ultimate source would be, from one point of view, to go back to the very origins of drama itself. For drama is a narrative art, and the earliest subjects for narrative in every civilization have been the heroic achievements of peoples, the exploits of popular heroes, those events which a nation seeks to perpetuate for its...

(The entire section is 14897 words.)