The Medieval Theatre

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Cambridge University Press, Jul 9, 1987 - Drama - 260 pages
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This is a thoroughly revised edition of Glynne Wickham's important history of the development of dramatic art in Christian Europe. Professor Wickham surveys the foundations on which this dramatic art was built: the architecture, costumes and ceremonial of the imperial court at Byzantium, the liturgies of countires in the Eastern and Western Empires and the triumph of the Roman rite and the Romanesque style in Western art. Within this context Professor Wickham describes three major influences upon the drama: religion, recreation and commerce. The first produced the liturgical music drama rooted in praise of Christ the King, vernacular Corpus Christi drama, Saint Plays and Moralities centred on the humanity of Christ. The second gave rise to the secular theatres of social recreation based on the games and dances of village communities ad the more sophisticated sex and war games of the nobility. The section on commerce shows how the development of the drama was intimately related to questions of funding and management which led, during the sixteenth century, to the substitution of a professional for an amateur theatre, and to a growing emphasis on stage spectacle. For this third edition the author has added a substantial section on monastic reform and its effect on Biblical translation and the use of allegory; a final chapter charts the transition in different European countries from this medieval Gothic theatre to the neoclassical methods of play construction and representation which flourished for the next two hundred years. The book gorges a coherent pattern through a very large and complicated subject. It is an excellent introduction to medieval theatre for undergraduates and to the growing number of theatregoers who enjoy contemporary revivals of medieval plays. A large plate section gives a pictorial version of the story, using photographs of contemporary manuscript illuminations, mosaics, frescoes, paintings and sculptures.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Drama of Praise and Thanksgiving
11
b Liturgy and Ritual
23
c Drama of Christ the King
33
d Drama of the Prophets Saints and Martyrs
41
Drama of Repentance
55
b Reform and Renaissance
57
c Merchant Princes and Alternative Patronage
60
b War Games
151
c Sexgames
156
d Mummings Disguisings and Masques
159
e Civic Pageantry
166
f Interludes
169
Amateurs and Professionals
179
Church and State
197
Transitions
210

d The Feast of Corpus Christi
62
e The Drama of Christ Crucified
69
f Patron Saints
95
Drama of Moral Instruction
106
b Sermons the Fine Arts and the Dance of Death
109
c The Drama of Crime and Punishment
112
Drama and Nature
125
b Folk Festivals
128
c The Mummers Play
144
Drama and Natural Man
150
b Spain
212
c France
215
d Germany and the Netherlands
217
e The British Isles
219
Notes
224
Calender of TwentiethCentury Revivals of English Mystery Cycles and other major Religious Plays of the Middle Age in England
234
Books Referred to in the Text and Notes
239
Index
247
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