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Ralph Roister Doister
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This scarce antiquarian book is included in our special Legacy Reprint Series. In the interest of creating a more extensive selection of rare historical book reprints, we have chosen to reproduce this title even though it may possibly have occasional imperfections such as missing and blurred pages, missing text, poor pictures, markings, dark backgrounds and other reproduction issues beyond our control. Because this work is culturally important, we have made it available as a part of our commitment to protecting, preserving and promoting the world's literature.
The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
Earliest known English comedy, a play in five acts written by Nicholas Udall, produced about 1553 and published in approximately 1566. This farcical tale of a cowardly braggart (or "miles gloriosus") who is egged on by his mischievous friend to pay suit to an engaged widow was the first example of the Roman five-act structure on an English stage. Udall was influenced by the comedies of the Romans Plautus and Terence; one of the subplots, in fact, was adapted from Terence's Eunuchus. Written in short, rhymed doggerel, peppered with songs and double entendres, this original blend of classical structure with contemporary English vernacular caused a stir when it was first performed. Subsequent English dramatists were invariably influenced by the play; William Shakespeare used many of Udall's techniques (and borrowed some of his characters) in his own comedies. Ralph Roister Doister marks the transition from medieval morality plays into secular drama.
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