Anonymous: Everyman (1508 words)


Everyman is the best known of all the medieval morality plays. Although it is a short play of around 920 lines, it manages to encapsulate the most important aspects of the morality genre. It survives only in printed form: two fragmentary copies survive in the Bodleian Library (1508-25) and the British Library (1525-30) printed by Richard Pynson, and two complete (but differing) editions printed by John Skot survive in the Huntington Library (1528-9) and the British Library (1530-5). Even though all the printed copies of the play certainly date from the early sixteenth century, they are translations derived from a late-fifteenth century Flemish Rederijkers’ (rhetoricians’) play called Elckerlijc. Although there …

Citation: Cummings, James. "Everyman". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 October 2004 [, accessed 25 October 2021.]

5256 Everyman 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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