Gail McMurray Gibson
This page reflects a scholar's association with the Folger Institute.
"Medieval Drama in Afterlife" (NEH, 2014–2015)
Tudor and Stuart collectors of late-medieval drama manuscripts routinely bequeathed their names to the play texts they preserved; the titles of The Towneley Cycle, The Digby Plays,and the Folger’s own Macro Plays attest to the importance of early modern bookish intermediaries in saving the texts of medieval religious theater from the destruction of reforming zeal and annihilation by neglect and time. What has been little explored, however, is the way that these same early modern collectors inscribed new cultural uses and histories on the pages of medieval drama texts, uses and histories that raise crucial questions about the porous borders between medieval and early modern, about these manuscripts as sites of on-going contests about past and present religious devotion and orthodoxy, and about the afterlives of drama manuscripts as material objects. Most historical medieval drama scholarship has been preoccupied for several decades with reconstructing cultural performance of the late-medieval time and place for which the manuscripts provide laconic registers of dialogue—but it is now time to explore some important ways in which those extant inscriptions of plays once performed in late-medieval parish and urban space continued to be “performed,” in an extended sense of that word, in the communities, households, and libraries of collectors and readers whose cultures of reformations, recusancy, and antiquarianism offer other sorts of drama for our understanding.
"Sir Kenelm Digby, Cultures of Recusancy, and The Digby Plays" (2012–2013)
“Cox Macro, The Macro Plays, and the Ghosts of an East Anglian Past” (2011)
Faculty, Ritual and Ceremony from Late-Medieval Europe to Early America (NEH Summer Institute, 2010–2011)