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Introduction The relative neglect of continental medieval drama in English -language scholarship until recently has been notorious and often a sign of its insularity. It now seems only right that scholarship in the English language should give full attention to other regions both in Europe and elsewhere where early drama was performed—and still is performed, as the remarkable report by Robert Potter (University of California, Santa Barbara) on the migration of medieval drama to the New World demonstrates. The Europe of the Middle Ages was an international community —separated, to be sure, by differing languages and dialects, but also bound together by a common religion and a common international language, both of which deeply affected regional practices. Writing in Denmark in the mid-nineteenth century, Georg Brandes scolded Scandinavian writers and critics with the admonition that they needed to "open their windows" to the literature and ideas of the rest of the continent. From a different vantage point, the essays on continental medieval drama brought together in the following pages involve an attempt to "open our windows" not only more fully to the traditions of drama and theater that lie immediately behind the early modern and modern stage in Europe but also to a rich vein of continental plays that have value in their own right. The first essay, by Stephen K. Wright, explores "The Iconographie Contexts of the Swedish De uno peccatore qui promeruit gratiam," a short play which is the earliest vernacular Scandinavian drama and also an example with interesting connections to Central European iconography. Hansjürgen Linke (University of Cologne) then provides a broad look at both Latin and vernacular drama in the German-speaking segment of Europe. Compared to the sparseness of extant texts of both types in England, medieval Germany has left a legacy of amazing riches. Professor Linke's article is an indispensable guide to this important dramatic repertoire, and it should perhaps be read in conjunction with his essay explaining more fully the newer developments in 2 Introduction the study of early German drama and theater ("Germany and German-Speaking Central Europe," in The Theatre of Medieval Europe, ed. Eckehard Simon [Cambridge Univ. Press, 1991], pp. 207-24, and bibliography, pp. 278-84), though for Hildegard of Bingen's remarkable music-drama it will be necessary to go to The Ordo Virtutum of Hildegard of Bingen: Critical Studies, edited by Audrey Ekdahl Davidson (Medieval Institute Publications , 1992). The focus on Northern Europe is continued in an essay by John Cartwright (University of Cape Town) on the Antwerp Landjuweel of 1561 and an article by Elsa Strietman (New College , Cambridge University) on the Dutch Mariken van Nieumeghen . The latter play is an analogue to the Faust story, and has the additional importance of being related to a sixteenthcentury English translation. Unlike Everyman, which is cast in dramatic form, the English translation in this case presents the dialogue as part of a narrative, apparently following an earlier version of the story than we have in the Dutch play text. Two papers specifically treat the medieval music drama. Michael Norton, who is engaged in a major study of this genre, provides a thorough analysis of the remarkable St. Nicholas plays, and Clyde Brockett, Jr. (Christopher Newport University), reports a discovery in Croatia of an Ordo Prophetarum which not only is unique in itself but also represents yet another region in Europe. Unfortunately, as he explains in his paper, research on this example must be limited to the evidence of photographs since the war and threat of war in the republics surrounding Serbia require that the manuscript itself be placed in safekeeping for the duration. Medieval drama and ceremony in the city of Rouen provide the topic of the paper by Thomas P. Campbell (Wabash College). Recent studies of dramatic records in England have shown how profitable this kind of research can be, and here Professor Campbell applies close scrutiny of documentary evidence in the case of a municipality with remarkable local customs. Konrad Eisenbichler (University of Toronto) takes up the context of an Italian play, Lorenzo de' Medici's Rappresentazione di Giovanni e Paolo, which was written for production by a boys' confraternity in Florence...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 1-3
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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