John Cox tells the intriguing story of stage devils from their earliest appearance in English plays to the closing of the theatres by parliamentary order in 1642. The book represents a major revision of E. K. Chambers' ideas of stage devils in The Medieval Stage (1903), arguing that this is not a history of gradual secularization, as scholarship has maintained for the last century, but rather that stage devils were profoundly shaped from the outset by the assumptions of sacred drama and retained this shape virtually unchanged until the advent of permanent commercial theatres near London. The book spans both medieval and Renaissance drama including the medieval Mystery cycles on the one hand, through to plays by Greene, Marlowe, Shakespeare (1 and 2 Henry VI), Jonson, Middleton and Davenant. An appendix lists all known devil plays in English from the beginning to 1642.

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