The Plays of Roswitha
Editore: Olympia Press
Whatever may be thought of the precise merits of these six short
dramas, now translated into English for the first time, it will be
conceded that a collection of plays bearing the date of the 10th
century, authenticated as the work of a woman, and a nun, is a
remarkable phenomenon, interesting to students of monasticism
and of the drama alike.
The plays are all founded on well-known legends, which
Roswitha follows very closely as regards the facts. But she shows
great originality in her use of the facts and in her development
of characters often merely indicated in the legends. Three of the
plays, Gallicanus, Dulcitius, and Sapientia, deal with the conflict
between infant Christianity and Paganism, martyrdoms under
the Emperors Hadrian, Diocletian, and Julian the Apostate
being the chief incidents. Gallicanus, which comes first in the
manuscript, shows considerable skill in dramatic construction.
Incident follows rapidly on incident.
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