Mary of Nemmegen, a prose condensation in English of the Middle Dutch play Mariken van Nieumeghen, is an important example of the literature that was imported from Holland in the early part of the sixteenth century - literature that helped to establish an English taste for narrative prose fiction.
It also may be compared to Everyman, described as a treatise in the manner of a moral play. Mary of Nemmegen is an analogue of the Faustus story, in which a person makes an agreement with the devil; hence the work deserves to be made available as background to Christopher Marlowe's Tragical History of Doctor Faustus as well as to later redactions of the Faust story. As such, it is also a window on the obsession in its own time with the occult, including its relation to the issues of damnation and salvation. Further, because Mary is ultimately saved from damnation and becomes saintly, the story is related to the saint play tradition as exemplified by the Digby Mary Magdalene.
The original Dutch drama itself has had a long history in various languages, appearing even in Arabic in the nineteenth century, and is regarded as the most important play of its type from the Dutch Renaissance. It remains a staple reading matter in Dutch education. Mary of Nemmegen: The ca. 1518 Translation and the Middle Dutch Analogue, Mariken van Nieumeghen presents in an old-spelling critical edition, with introduction and notes, along with the text and literal translation of the Dutch play.