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Anonymous - Mankind
Mankind, like many other morality plays (including Everyman) is anonymous; and we have no solid biographical information about its author. The places named in Mankind are mostly villages near Cambridge and King’s Lynn (two towns approximately 40 miles apart), so there is reason to suppose that the author may have either lived in, or have been born in, that area. Other than that, we can only consider facts presented to us by the text itself: the author knows Latin, has some legal knowledge, is critical of the established church, and seems to delight both in vernacular, boisterous, crude humor and elaborate rhetoric and verbal parody. It has been suggested that he might be an amateur or professional actor, or a student of the University of Cambridge – but like so much else written about the morality plays, this is merely guesswork.
Mankind is one of the most famous and best known examples of a medieval morality play (see ‘The Morality Play’). It is, like many others of the same type, anonymous, and we know very little about the playwright, though the play itself seems to...