Mankind: a Very Brief Annotated Bibliography

A lot of reading and research goes into our productions! This is just a fraction of the books and articles we’ve looked over in working on Mankind, but if you’re curious to know more about the play and its history, here are some places to start.

Adams, John Quincy, Chief Pre-Shakespearean Dramas, pp. 304-324
From 1924, this book gives an interesting perspective on how scholars used to consider Mankind- the vices’ song is missing, for example, cut for being too obscene for print.

Carpenter, Sarah, ‘Morality-Play Characters’, Medieval English Theatre 5:1, p. 18-28

Cawsey, Kathy, “Tutivillus and the ‘Kyrkchaterars’: Strategies of Control in the Middle
Ages”, Studies in Philology, v. 102, No. 4 (Autumn 2005), pp. 434-451
A consideration of the traditions of the character Titivillus and his role as the collector of idle gossip or chatting during church, this article really brings home another reason why the power of language is at the heart of Mankind.

Coogan, Mary Philippa, An Interpretation of the Moral Play Mankind.
One of the only full-length studies of the play, Sr. Coogan’s monograph has been very influential on study of the play, and she makes a convincing argument for Mercy being interpreted as a friar.

Diller, Hans-Jurgen, “Laughter in Medieval English Drama: a Critique of Modernizing and
Historical Analyses”, Comparative Drama, v. 36, iss. 1:2 (Spring 2002), pp. 1-19
Diller considers the comedy in Mankind and what it would have meant to medieval audiences, an important consideration in trying to determine how to approach the play even with a modern audience.

Heap, Carl, ‘On Performing Mankind’, Medieval English Theatre 4:2, pp. 93-103
Reflecting on one of the earlier twentieth-century revivals, this article gives insight into some of the issues that you have to face in producing Mankind. It makes an interesting contrast to our very different production.

King, Pamela, ‘Morality Plays’ in The Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Theatre,
ed. Richard Beadle and Alan J. Fletcher, pp. 235-264
This is a really good starting point for morality plays, and the entire volume is a great point of departure if you’re just starting to get your head around medieval drama.

Marshall, John, “ ‘O Ye Souerens That Sytt and Ye Brothern That Stonde Ryght Wppe’:
Addressing the Audience of Mankind”, European Medieval Drama, v. 1, p. 189-202
Looking at the moments when the play specifically acknowledges the audience’s presence, the article also looks at who the audience might have been, and where.

Stock, Lorraine Kockhanske, “The Thematic and structural Unity of ‘Mankind’, Studies in
Philology v. 72, No. 4 (Oct. 1975), pp.386-406
Considers the many potential sources and influences in Mankind, arguing that it is very deliberate in its choices; good for considering what information a medieval audience member might have had to influence how he understood the play.