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March 8, 2004

Posted by Teresa at 06:59 PM *

Dept. of Our Ancestors Were Gullible about Religion, Not; from The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, in re the pre-Shakespearian comedies The Pardoner and the Frere and Johan Johan:

Two of the sham relics exhibited by the pardoner in The foure P. P., “the great toe of the Trinite” and “of all Hallows the bless’d jaw bone” reappear … in The pardoner and the frere. But, possibly, more indicative of a single hand is the parallelism in the respective lists of the “buttocke bone of Pentecoste” and the “arm of sweet Saint Sunday,” and of the eyetooth of the Great Turk, which prevents blindness, and the “brayn pan” of “Saynt Myghell,” a preservative against headache.
Comments on Heywood:
#1 ::: rbrazile ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2004, 03:39 PM:

Sounds like Twain to me.

#2 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2004, 10:49 AM:

For your dining and dancing pleasure, the full text of Johan Johan, attributed to Heywood, appears here.

There aren't any relics, but there are three blessed miracles.

#3 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2004, 01:17 PM:

Okay, that was funny. Thank you, Jim. I'll bet the bit with the candle got a lot of laughs.

#4 ::: jo. ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2004, 04:56 PM:

John-John is hilarious, exploding bucket and all.
The bucket is also a dirty joke, in case you didn't pick that up.

But the anti-clerical satire is pretty standard for the 16th century, and even for the medievals: similar attitudes turn up in Chaucer's Pardoner's Tale. It develops into anti-catholic satire once the English break away from the church.

It's not skepticism about *religion* so much as skepticism about *hucksters* -- very like Twain.

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