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Article Title

Portrayals of the Vita Christi in the Medieval German Marienklage: Signs of Franciscan Exegesis and Rhetoric in Drama and Music

Authors

Peter Loewen

Abstract

Portrayals of the Vita Christi in the Medieval German Marienklage: Signs of Franciscan Exegesis and Rhetoric in Drama and Music For more than 100 years, scholars have lauded the Meditationes Vitae Christi by the Franciscan friar Johannes de Caulibus as one of the most influential works in the history of late-medieval visual art and religious drama. Over the past few decades, scholars have informed our study of medieval drama by using this work to show how Franciscan spirituality influenced the composition of medieval English, French, and Italian religious drama. A similar program of research in German drama has been slower to develop, however. Like the Meditationes Vitae Christi, the Marienklage (Lament of the Virgin Mary) is based on Scripture, but emphasizes matters that range far beyond canonical detail. Indeed, its songs elaborate so much on Mary's compassion for her Son, and on the subject of penance, that her personal experience of the Crucifixion overwhelms the scriptural narrative. In this study, I examine the text and music of the Füssener Marienklage to show how the history of this genre is connected to the Vita Christi tradition, and how it broadly reflects the influence of Franciscan theology, music theory and rhetoric, and program of vernacular exegesis.

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.

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