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About The Book

The seventeenth-century Ukrainian play About the Harrowing of Hell is probably the last European manifestation of an important medieval dramatic tradition. This edition features a detailed introduction and notes, a facsimile of the original (discovered by Ivan Franko), and an English translation. In Western Europe, harrowing of hell plays are among the best extant medieval plays, offering many opportunities for the spectacular and the awesome, as well as the farcical. In Eastern Europe, which felt the reverberations of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation, almost all at once, the drama is both numerically and qualitatively more slight. About the Harrowing of Hell is one outstanding example. A full, contained, independent harrowing play from the early seventeenth century, About the Harrowing of Hell forms a nexus between Western and Eastern dramatic traditions and is probably the last manifestation of this genre anywhere in Europe. Unknown to all but the Slavic specialist, this text broadens the scope of what is generally regarded as medieval religious drama and reveals the curious changes wrought on a harrowing play by a complex period. The play represents a detailed psychological portrait of Lucifer, a Hades close to the knowing and fearful one of the Gospel of Nicodemus, a familiar look at "Johnny" (St. John the Baptist) Senecan-like messengers, and a solemn Christ. The play ends with the wily figure of Solomon, who is summarily thrown out of hell as he sings the praises of the Birth-Giver of God and prophesies the Second Coming. Published in association with Dovehouse Editions (Ottawa) in the series "Carleton Renaissance Plays in Translation".

About The Author

Irena R. Makaryk

Irena R. Makaryk

Irena R. Makaryk is professor of English at the University of Ottawa. She is a member of the Advisory Executive Committee of the Chair of Ukrainian Studies, University of Ottawa and the author of numerous …

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