Prophetic "Play" and Symbolist "Plot" in the Beauvais Daniel


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

First composed and played by students at the cathedral school of St. Peter in Beauvais about 1140, and popular enough to have been carefully recopied nearly a hundred years later in the one manuscript of it remaining to us,1 the Danielis ludus or "Play of Daniel" has become something more of a pièce célèbre for performing groups in our land and time than one suspects it ever quite became in its own. Text and music were first transcribed and edited by F. Danjou in the middle of the last century in his "Le Théâtre religieux et populaire au xiiie siècle: le Mystère de Daniel"2 and slightly more than a decade later by Edouard de Coussemaker in his Drames liturgiques du moyen âge.3 In our century, Karl Young, interested in the "evolution" of modern drama from "a spontaneous new birth and growth within the confines of Christian worship," as he thought, included the Daniel, but without the music, in his Drama of the Medieval Church.4

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