The literature of the Celtic language of Cornwall, which has been spoken only by bilingual speakers since the late 18th cent. The surviving pre-1800 literature consists largely of a few miracle plays
, mostly of the 15th cent. With the exception of the Life of St. Meriasek,
they are usually on biblical subjects. The plays closely resemble Breton drama. Also surviving is the Middle Cornish narrative poem The Passion of Our Lord.
Since the 20th cent. there has been a concerted effort to revive spoken and written Cornish, which has met with minor success.
See R. M. Longsworth, The Cornish Ordinalia (1967); E. Norris, ed., Ancient Cornish Drama (2 vol., 1859; repr. 1968).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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