Few medieval plays in English have attracted as much twenty-first-century interest as the Digby Mary Magdalene, an early-fifteenth-century drama that, as Chester Scoville puts it, is “probably the most spectacular of the late medieval English plays.” This new edition presents a modernized text of the play, with extensive annotation (both marginal glosses and explanatory footnotes), an insightful introduction, and a helpful selection of background contextual materials.
“This new Broadview edition makes medieval England’s most extraordinary play accessible to a broader audience. With modernized spelling throughout, brief yet informative notes and glosses, and an introduction that highlights the play’s extravagant dramatic complexity, Scoville’s edition welcomes students into the fascinating world of this text. Material from biblical and hagiographical sources that would have been familiar to both the playwright and his late medieval audience provide further context for understanding the female character at its center, while reproductions of two of the sole surviving manuscript’s pages offer a glimpse of the process by which the script was preserved for future generations. This is an important addition to the Broadview library.” — Joanne Findon, Trent University
“Scoville’s Digby Play of Mary Magdalene offers an accessible and expertly-glossed text in modernized spelling. Its introduction discusses the play’s poetic and thematic features, along with its manuscript history, and provides production information. The explanatory and textual notes and the biblical sources enable undergraduate students to access the greatness and complexity of this play and to join the scholarly conversation about it.” — Frank Napolitano, Radford University
“[The Broadview Mary Magdalene] is a text that reads well, is clear and easy to follow, and reduces the language barrier that many undergraduates find difficult to overcome. Perhaps the most pedagogically valuable part of Scoville’s edition is the ‘In Context’ section, [which]… provides some source material associated with the story of Mary Magdalene, alongside photographic facsimiles and transcriptions of two folios from the Digby manuscript. … Scoville’s edition is valuable and well suited to introducing first-year undergraduates to the play of Mary Magdalene; accessible, affordable, and with basic contextual information, it invites students to engage with this remarkable play without feeling overwhelmed by its strangeness and cultural difference.” — Speculum