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Radical Theatricality

Jongleuresque Performance on the Early Spanish Stage

by Bruce R. Burningham

Publication Year: 2007

Radical Theatricality argues that our narrow search for extant medieval play scripts depends entirely on a definition of theater far more literary than performative. This literary definition pushes aside some of our best evidence of Spain's medieval performance traditions precisely because this evidence is considered either intangible or "un-dramatic" (that is, monologic).

Published by: Purdue University Press

Series: Purdue Studies in Romance Literatures

Title Page

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

Radical Theatricality has its roots in a Yale University doctoral dissertation whose precise year of completion I do not wish to recall. What I do wish to recall, however, despite the fact that this project has changed a great deal since my graduate student days, are the names of the many people to whom I remain so greatly indebted.

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pp. 1-12

The hero of this book—if a scholarly work can be said to have a central protagonist—is an actor; or, better yet, a series of actors. But this collective hero does not represent a particular group of known individuals. This book is neither a biography nor a history per se, despite the fact that a number of historical figures will make an appearance. ...

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Chapter One: Reinventing Thespis

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pp. 13-49

I begin with a myth of origins. Like all good myths this one has a hero; like all good myths it owes its interpretive authority to its own misty antiquity; and like all good myths it lends itself to infinite re-interpretation. It is the fable of a long-lost “Golden Age,” ...

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Chapter Two: Singers of Tales on Simple Stages

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pp. 50-89

The popular entertainers I invoked in the previous chapter are not exactly absent in modern scholarly discourse; on the contrary, the jongleurs as a class of performers have been examined in any number of literary and historiographical studies during the last two centuries.1 ...

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Chapter Three: Picaresque Actors and Their Theater

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pp. 90-131

One of the most notable features of medieval jongleuresque performance is its connection to that of the Roman mimus, the Teutonic scôp, and others, whose performative practices continued— modified to be sure, but unabated—for hundreds of years after the fall of the Roman Empire. The mechanism that allowed for this ongoing performance tradition, ...

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Chapter Four: “Corralling” the Jongleuresque

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pp. 132-170

Criticism of poetic influence has a long and venerable history in the Western literary tradition and exists in various forms. The most common of these are examinations of direct influence that attempt to trace links between texts by locating the sources one author has used in the formation of his or her own work. ...

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Chapter Five: Playwrights and the Actorly Text

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pp. 171-214

Throughout this book I have argued that the genuinely theatrical nature of the jongleuresque tradition has been undervalued by many modern critics precisely because our historiographical models have been inordinately informed by the literary legacies of the Thespis myth. ...

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pp. 215-220

I return here at the end to the Thespis myth and to its application to the so-called rebirth of Western drama. We are told that this rebirth occurred not only within the physical confines of the Church, but also within the interpretive confines of the Mass sometime in the ninth century. ...


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pp. 221-230


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pp. 231-246


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pp. 247-259

About the Author

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p. 260-260

E-ISBN-13: 9781612490885
E-ISBN-10: 1612490883
Print-ISBN-13: 9781557534415
Print-ISBN-10: 1557534411

Page Count: 260
Publication Year: 2007

Series Title: Purdue Studies in Romance Literatures