The Fleury Playbook and the Traditions of Medieval Latin Drama


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

The Fleury Playbook, containing verbal and musical texts for ten plays and now a portion of MS. 201 in the Orleans Municipal Library, is the most extensive surviving collection of medieval Latin music-dramas. Four of these plays have as their subjects episodes from the St. Nicholas legend, while the remaining six include the Herod and Innocents plays made famous by the New York Pro Musica productions, a Lazarus play, extensive Visitatio and Peregrinus plays, and a play about the conversion of St. Paul. All have received a great deal of previous attention. Five of them are included in David Bevington's anthology Medieval Drama, and Fletcher Collins has edited all ten plays in his book of performing versions of seventeen plays from the music-drama repertory. Similarly, Gustave Cohen devoted more than forty percent of his collection of French liturgical drama to plays from the Fleury collection. Indeed, among the anthologists of the Latin music-drama of the past half-century, only Karl Langosch, with his evident bias for German culture, has chosen to omit the Fleury dramas from his book. Clearly these plays are among the most favored of all medieval dramas.1

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