Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Paula Blank

Committee Members

Monica Brzezinski Potkay

George D. Greenia

Erin Minear


Between 1597 and 1602, students at St. John's College, Cambridge, mounted three theatrical entertainments collectively known as the Parnassus Plays. The plays concern the adventures of students during their navigation of the treacherous waters of academic life and their frustrated attempts to find (legal) employment after graduation. These plays, which display a remarkable knowledge of the London theatrical and literary scene, are particularly significant in providing a contemporary commentary on the "war of the theaters," and abound with references to literary figures including Spenser, Marlowe, Jonson, Shakespeare and Nashe. My thesis focuses on the final of the three plays: The Returne from Pernassus, or The Scourge of Simony, printed twice in 1606. I examine the play's historical setting and background, with a particular emphasis on the Returne as a printed object. In addition to the play's printing and publishing history, I also discuss the play as a literary work, focusing on the economic difficulties the scholars face in turn-of-the-(17th)-century England. Included in the thesis is a transcription of the Returne manuscript (titled the Progresse to Parnassus) from the Folger Shakespeare Library. Also included is a fully-annotated edition of Returne (based off of the second printed edition) completed as part of a large-scale group project.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Thesis is part of Honors ETD pilot project, 2008-2013. Migrated from Dspace in 2016.

AdamsChristopher2008-Complete Text.pdf (428 kB)
The Returne from Pernassus, 2nd edition, Full Text

AdamsChristopher2008-Progresse Manuscript Transcription.pdf (292 kB)
The Progresse to Parnassus, Transcription of Manuscript V. a.355

On-Campus Access Only