Early Drama, Art, and Music has an established reputation for publishing specialized high-quality scholarship through Medieval Institute Publications at Western Michigan University. The current editorial board interprets its core business in drama, art and music in very permissive ways that reflect current critical trends. The board seeks submissions from new as well as established scholars with an interest in, for example, performativity, rituals, somatic reception and medievalism, as well as in fresh departures in the study of plays, visual and plastic arts and music. The time is ripe for a more global reach, to expand the conventional Anglophone and Latin base into explorations of a wider range of traditions from medieval Europe and beyond.
Contrary to previous scholarship, which has claimed that university drama did not occur at the English universities before the Tudor period, Meacham argues that there was a vibrant tradition of performance throughout the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. He suggests an earlier tradition has not been recognized because, in addition to the false assumption that medieval pedagogy cannot support such activity, the full range of medieval performance practices or "texts," beyond the traditional play text, have not been considered. This book takes as its focus one of the last medieval university plays, Thomas Chaundler’s Liber apologeticus de omni statu humanae naturae (A defense of human nature in every state, c. 1460). Meacham positions Liber apologeticus and the texts of its parent codex, Cambridge: Trinity College MS R.14.5 (in addition to select texts from another manuscript compiled by Chaundler) as the culmination of a substantive and nuanced medieval university performance tradition, incorporating pedagogical, devotional, and ceremonial practices.
Every known society wears some form of clothing. It is central to how we experience our bodies and how we understand the sociocultural dimensions of our embodiment. It is also central to how we understand works of literature. In this innovative study, Brazil demonstrates how medieval writers use clothing to direct readers’ and spectators’ awareness to forms of embodiment. Offering insights into how poetic works, plays, and devotional treatises target readers’ kinesic intelligence—their ability to understand movements and gestures—Brazil demonstrates the theological implications of clothing, often evinced by how garments limit or facilitate the movements and postures of bodies in narratives. By bringing recent studies in the field of embodied cognition to bear on narrated and dramatized interactions between dress and body, this book offers new methodological tools to the study of clothing.
The Jeu d'Adam is an Anglo-Norman mid-twelfth-century representation of several biblical stories, including the temptation of Adam and Eve and the subsequent fall, Cain and Abel, and the prophets Isaiah and Daniel. Its framework builds on the Latin responses of the mass during the liturgical season of Septuagesima, from before Lent to Easter. This collection of essays explores whether this early play was monastic or secular, its Anglo-Norman character, and the text's musical provenance.
This book examines the late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century engagement with a crucial part of Britain's past, the period between the withdrawal of the Roman legions and the Norman Conquest. This was a period that saw both Arthur and Alfred, as well as Hengist, Horsa, and Canute. The country was converted to Christianity and saw successive waves of invasions by Angles, Jutes, and Danes, which left both a mark on the language and a record in the physical landscape. By its end, the British Isles had been transformed beyond recognition, and yet a number of early modern plays suggest an underlying continuity, an essential English identity linked to the land and impervious to vicissitudes and change. This book considers the extent to which ideas about early modern English and British national, religious, and political identities were rooted in cultural constructions of the pre-Conquest past.
The expression "liturgical drama" was formulated in 1834 as a metaphor and hardened into formal category only later in the nineteenth century. Prior to this invention, the medieval rites and representations that would forge the category were understood as distinct and unrelated classes: as liturgical rites no longer celebrated or as theatrical works of dubious quality. If this distinction between liturgical rites and non-liturgical representations holds, should we not examine the works called "liturgical drama" according to the contexts of their presentations within the manuscripts and books that preserve them? Given the ways that the words "liturgy" and "drama" have been understood, moreover, combining them makes little sense. Given the distinctions that exist within the repertory, the expression also has no definable referent. Ultimately, the expression has little utility if we wish to appreciate how these rites and representations were understood at the time they were copied, celebrated, or performed.
This is the first full-length study of the interrelation between sermons and vernacular religious drama in late medieval England. It investigates how these genres worked as media for public learning, how they combined this didactic aim with literary exigencies, and how the plays in particular acquired and reflected a position of authority. The interrelation between sermons and vernacular drama, formerly assumed relatively uncritically to be a close one, is addressed from a variety of angles, including historical connections, performative aspects, and the portrayal of the sacrament of penance. The analysis challenges the common assumption that Middle English religious drama is strongly influenced by contemporary sermons. Instead, the work demonstrates the subtly different purpose and content of these two genres and outlines the unique ways in which they operate within late medieval English devotional life.
Clifford Davidson, Ton J. Broos, and Martin Walsh
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.