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Barry Unsworth's Morality Play: Narrative, detection, history

Boccardi, Mariadele



© 2016 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. Morality Play is a historical detective novel set in the late fourteenth century and published in 1995, at a time of flourishing for historical fiction in Britain. This article argues that the novel shares some of the features of contemporary British historical fiction (notably, a degree of self-referentiality and a concern with the relationship between reality and representation), but also retains more traditional historical novels' desire to show the fate of individuals caught at moments of historical change. Using White's reflections on forms of historical writing and an understanding of the history of detective fiction, the article brings this currently under-examined text to critical attention and, in so doing, contributes to current scholarly understanding of the so-called 'historical turn' in late-twentieth century British fiction.


Boccardi, M. (2016). Barry Unsworth's Morality Play: Narrative, detection, history. postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies, 7(2), 204-213.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 20, 2015
Publication Date Jun 1, 2016
Deposit Date Mar 17, 2016
Journal Postmedieval
Print ISSN 2040-5960
Electronic ISSN 2040-5979
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan (part of Springer Nature)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Issue 2
Pages 204-213
Keywords Barry Unsworth, Morality Play
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Postmedieval: A Journal of Medieval Cultural Studies. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Boccardi, M. (2016) Barry Unsworth’s Morality Play: Narrative, detection, history. Postmedieval: A Journal of Medieval Cultural Studies, 7 (2). pp. 204-213 is available online at:


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