The Name of Grim: Tracing the Character of Grim the Collier in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century English Theatre
Keywords:comedy, ecocriticism, race, coal, subplots, edwards, brewer, anoymous plays, devils
Grim the Collier is a curious comic character who receives little critical attention. Grim appears in three key plays, sixteenth- and seventeenth-century pamphlets, herbals, and ballad culture. This article examines, and rejects, Grim as a potentially useful figure for environmental awareness. I dispel legends about the basis of this character, and examine how the labile significance of the name ‘Grim’ implicates it in networks of superficial similarity between devils, colliers, and racialized black skin. These networks link to the proverb that underlies most early modern depictions of Grim: ‘like will to like quoth the devil to the collier’.
Contributors to Early Theatre retain full copyright to their content. All published authors are required to grant a limited exclusive license to the journal. According to the terms of this license, authors agree that for one year following publication in Early Theatre, they will not publish their submission elsewhere in the same form, in any language, without the consent of the journal, and without acknowledgment of its initial publication in the journal thereafter.