French Visual Culture and the Making of Medieval Theater
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 located not in 'theaters' but in churches, courts, and city streets and squares. 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 playgoing experience that was associated with classical antiquity. This retrospective vision of the 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.
- Electronic book text
- 18 Dec 2015
- CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
- Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
- Cambridge, United Kingdom
- 143 b/w illus. 8 colour illus.
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 mystere': creating a spectator and a reader of French plays; 5. 'C'etait qu'un jeu industrieux': artifice and authenticity in the devil's play; Conclusion: mysterious ends, 1548-77.
'A particular strength of this book is the attention paid to language. Throughout, Weigert offers illuminating analyses of words such as mystere, 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