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Neo-Latin Drama in Britain

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Chapter Summary

The increased accessibility of a larger number of plays improves the knowledge of a lively academic tradition, but one must recognize that there are only a small sampling of the thousands of productions of Neo-Latin drama performed in the schools and universities in the English Renaissance. The proliferation of Neo-Latin drama resulted from the belief that plays were an effective means of instructing students in rhetoric and morality. In Britain recitation of dramatic dialogue was perceived as an effective tool in the mastery of the Latin language and in the skills of oratorical delivery. The subjects of the drama were initially religious at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge and were generally based on Biblical material, but they became more varied as time passed. The largest number of plays that have survived from the English Jesuit colleges on the Continent come from St Omer.

Keywords: Biblical material; Britain; English Jesuit colleges; English Renaissance; Neo-Latin drama; St Omer



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