The Idea of the Theater in Latin Christian Thought
Augustine to the Fourteenth Century
Publication Year: 2004
Published by: University of Michigan Press
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Much has been done in the last two decades to assert the value of medieval theater, performance, performing bodies (living and dead), modes of representation, and texts independent of the consciously theatrical presentation of classical plays in the Renaissance.1 Vibrant performance traditions associated with medieval ceremonies, civic rituals, tournaments, festivals, folk traditions, and religious rites, as well as ludi, have been explored for their technical virtuosity and variations on mimesis. ...
Chapter One: The Idea of a Theater in Late Antiquity: Augustine’s Critique and Isidore’s History
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The writings of St. Augustine of Hippo (354–430) and Isidore of Seville (d. 636) have provided modern scholarship with rich information about theatrical performance in the Greco-Roman world. Augustine’s The City of God and Confessions criticize theater as a social, religious, and representational practice from a Christian perspective; Isidore’s Etymologiae describes Roman...
Chapter Two: Transmission and Transformation: Liturgical Allegory and the Idea of Theater
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As Christianity took institutional hold in Western Europe, churches, monasteries, ceremonies, iconography, and texts began to create distinctly Christian modes of representation. Elaborations on the liturgies of the Mass and offices yielded what twentieth-century scholars have come to recognize as the emergence of a dramatic tradition in the Quem quaeritis trope and ...
Chapter Three: Renaissance and Reorientation: Ancient Theater Revisited in the Twelfth Century
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Carolingian writers had carried the idea of ancient theater forward from the Fathers as a denigrated and false mode of representation (whatever Christian values might be imposed on the historical records). The revival of focus on classical texts in the eleventh century, as they both matched and challenged Christian beliefs, allowed for a more complex representation of...
Chapter Four: From Poetics to Performance: The Reception and Interpretation of Aristotle’s Poetics to the Early Fourteenth Century
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throughout the twelfth century, vernacular and sacred ludi had emerged in tandem with new religious orders, preaching styles, and liturgical practices. By the beginning of the fourteenth century, elaborate, scripted Passion plays; secular ludi, such as Adam de la Halle’s Le jeu de Robin et Marion; and prototypes of guild-sponsored cycle plays were performed out of doors with temporary scenery and platform stages. ...
Chapter Five: Afterword: From Idea to Practice
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One of the frustrations—or perhaps one of the joys—for historians who study medieval performance practices has been the lack of a critical tradition to explain how medieval minds perceived and understood activities now easily folded into modern, Western notions of theatrical drama. Since the early twentieth century, modern expectations for drama have presumed...
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Page Count: 204
Publication Year: 2004