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Medieval Matters: The Greatest Play You’ve Never Heard Of: Sir David Lyndsay, Scotland’s Lyon King, and the Story of The Three Estates

EVT 622
Jan 30
7:30 pm
Bldg. 370, Rm. 370
Status: No Registration Required

Medieval Matters is a series of public lectures co-sponsored by Stanford Continuing Studies and The Sarum Seminar. It explores the relevance of medieval history and culture to understanding the modern world.

The Greatest Play You’ve Never Heard Of: Sir David Lyndsay, Scotland’s Lyon King, and the Story of The Three Estates

In this evening program, Greg Walker, Regius Professor of English Literature at the University of Edinburgh (the oldest chair of English in the world), tells the story of a 450-year-old play, A Satire of the Three Estates, and of its remarkable author, Sir David Lyndsay. Despite being virtually unknown outside its native Scotland, and rarely performed even there, Sir David Lyndsay’s monumental political morality play is actually one of the most remarkable dramas ever produced. Performed in three versions—the longest, played outdoors in Edinburgh in 1554, lasted nine hours—The Three Estates is a bold critique of a church and nation in decline as daring and radical as anything written in the medieval period or the Renaissance, and still has the capacity to shock modern audiences with its political and sexual boldness. Professor Walker’s presentation draws on his experience as one of the researchers behind the first full professional production of the play since 1554 in Linlithgow Palace in 2013.

Greg Walker, Regius Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature, University of Edinburgh

Greg Walker held professorships at Leicester and Edinburgh before being appointed by the Queen to his Regius Chair in 2010. His research interests span Medieval and Renaissance cultural history and literature. His books include Writing Under Tyranny: English Literature and the Henrician Reformation, and the forthcoming John Heywood: Comedy and Survival in Tudor England. He has been a visiting professor at Stanford, and received a PhD in Tudor history and literature from the University of Southampton.
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