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Everyman/Elckerlic

   
 
Elckerlic/Everyman
“Elckerlic is a morality play in Dutch literature of the Middle Ages. We do not know who the author was.

It was first found in print in 1496 and to this day it remains unclear which of both came first: the Dutch “Elckerlic” or the English “Everyman”
One fragment in the Dutch version goes like this:
Och, doot, sidi mi soe bi,

als icker alder minst op moede!

Doot, wildi van mi hebben goede?

Duysent pont sal ic u gheven,

Op dat ic behouden mach mijn leven.

Ende doet een verdrach van desen
In modern English it roughly sounds like this:
Oh, death, you are so close to me,

when I was not in the least expecting you!

Death, shall I offer you things of value?

I will give you a thousand pounds,

if you will leave me and will let me live.

And please, can we agree on this?
Everyman, is also a novel by Philip Roth, published in May 2006. It won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction in 2007. It is Roth’s third novel to receive the prize.

It is loosely based upon the old “Elckerlic”/”Everyman”, the stories from the Middle Ages by anonymous writers.
Everyman is the title of the fifteenth-century English morality play whose eponymous protagonist is “called” by death and must account for his life on earth before God. About the play, Roth said the following in a late 2005 interview:

The moral was always “Work hard and get into heaven”, “Be a good Christian or go to hell”. Everyman is the main character and he gets a visit from Death. He thinks it’s some sort of messenger, but Death says, “I am Death” and Everyman’s answer is the first great line in English drama: “Oh, Death, thou comest when I had thee least in mind. (When I thought of you least.)
Photos: covers of early Elckerlic and Everyman editions.

#ajournalofuneventfuldays #everyman #elckerlic

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