French Visual Culture and the Making of Medieval Theater
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- Author: Laura Weigert, Rutgers University, New Jersey
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This book revives what was unique, strange, and exciting about the variety of performances that took place in the realms of the French kings and Burgundian dukes. Laura Weigert brings together a wealth of visual artifacts and practices to explore this tradition of late medieval performance taking place, not in “theaters,” but in churches, courts, and city streets. By stressing the theatricality rather than the realism of fifteenth-century visual culture and the spectacular rather than the devotional nature of its effects, she offers a new way of thinking about late medieval representation and spectatorship. She shows how images that ostensibly document medieval performance instead revise its characteristic features to conform to a play-going experience associated with classical antiquity. This retrospective vision of a late medieval performance tradition contributed to its demise in sixteenth-century France and promoted assumptions about medieval theater that continue to inform the contemporary disciplines of art and theater history.Read more
- Breaks down disciplinary boundaries between art history and theater history
- A wealth of illustrations capture the excitement and strangeness of the variety of medieval and renaissance performances
- Moves the study of this period from devotion and theology to spectacle and performance
Reviews & endorsements
'A particular strength of this book is the attention paid to language. Throughout, Weigert offers illuminating analyses of words such as mystère, personnage, scena, theatrum, and vif (het levende/dlevende in Middle Dutch), which had broad semantic fields and for which there exist no direct equivalents in modern English. … Readers interested in late medieval and early modern art history, history, literature, performance studies, and urban studies will find much to appreciate.' Mark Cruse, Mediaevistik
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- Date Published: January 2016
- format: Adobe eBook Reader
- isbn: 9781316413159
- contains: 143 b/w illus. 8 colour illus.
- availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
Table of Contents
Introduction: from theatricality to theater
1. 'Vocamus personagias': the enlivened figures of ephemeral stagings
2. 'Ouvrez vos yeux et regardez': illuminated passion plays and the commemoration of performance
3. 'Faire semblant': make-believe and the experience of heroic battles
4. 'Cy s'ensuit le mystère': creating a spectator and a reader of French plays
5. 'C'était qu'un jeu industrieux': artifice and authenticity in the devil's play
Conclusion: mysterious ends, 1548–77.
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