Elckerlijc


Elckerlijc

Elckerlijc also known as Elckerlyc, is a morality play was written about 1470 in Dutch, and originally printed in 1495. It was extremely successful and was the original source for the English play "Everyman", as well as many other translations for other countries. The authorship of "Elckerlijc" is attributed to Peter van Diest, a medieval writer from the Low Countries.

The play won the first prize in the Rederijker contest in Antwerp in 1485. As a morality play, it stresses the didactic message. It uses allegory of the hero as an "everyman" (a typical human person) and is written in moderately elevated Rederijker style.

Dutch and English historians argued for decades over whether the English play "Everyman" was based on "Elckerlijc" (or vice versa). The most convincing evidence that "Elckerlijc" was the original was provided by the English historian E.R. Tigg, who showed how many rhymes and literal translations were copied from the Dutch play into the English "Everyman". [Meijer, 1971:55, quoting of "Journal of English and Germanic Philosophy," 1939.] On the other hand it is perfectly credible that an English translator should have added a rhyming tag to each of a pair of words that rhyme in Dutch but not in English. [Cawley, A. C. (1989). "Everyman". "Dictionary of the Middle Ages". ISBN 0-684-17024-8.] In the end although there is no irrefutable factual proof, based on the balance of evidence it is generally agreed the Dutch is the original.

Translations and Adaptations

* "Everyman", in English (16th century).
* "Hecastus", adaptation in Latin (1536) by Macropedius.
* "Jedermann" adaptation by Hugo von Hofmannsthal (1911).

Further reading

* "Is Elckerlyc prior to Everyman?" "Journal of English and Germanic Philosophy" 1939, pp. 568-96.

Notes

ources

* Meijer, Reinder. "Literature of the Low Countries: A Short History of Dutch Literature in the Netherlands and Belgium." New York: Twayne Publishers, Inc., 1971, pp. 55-57, 62.


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