Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Epic Performances from the Middle Ages into the Twenty-First Century$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Fiona Macintosh, Justine McConnell, Stephen Harrison, and Claire Kenward

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198804215

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198804215.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 07 December 2019

A Harmless Distemper

A Harmless Distemper

Accessing the Classical Underworld in Heywood’s The Silver Age

(p.181) 13 A Harmless Distemper
Epic Performances from the Middle Ages into the Twenty-First Century

Margaret Kean

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers how the epic underworld becomes accessible from the early modern London stage. It examines plays by Kyd, Dekker, and others, but the main focus is on Thomas Heywood’s The Silver Age (1613), where katabatic movement on stage successfully translocates the descent narratives of erudite classical poetry into popular dramatic performance. The Silver Age retells the myth of Proserpina’s abduction by Pluto but it reconfigures Ovid’s account to fit within an episodic drama based around the life story of the Theban hero, Hercules. Heywood’s play offers an unusually independent and sustained response to classical materials, and an additional literary interest in Statius will be proposed. The chapter also employs recent work by theatre historians to reflect on the collaborative nature of early modern dramatic production, and on the repertoire and specific skill-set developed at the Red Bull Playhouse in the early years of the Jacobean era.

Keywords:   katabasis, reception of Ovid, early modern theatre, Red Bull Playhouse, William Shakespeare, Thomas Heywood, Harrowing of Hell, Thebes, Hercules, Proserpina myth

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .