A Common Stage: Theater and Public Life in Medieval Arras - Conjunctions of Religion and Power in the Medieval Past (Hardback)
  • A Common Stage: Theater and Public Life in Medieval Arras - Conjunctions of Religion and Power in the Medieval Past (Hardback)
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A Common Stage: Theater and Public Life in Medieval Arras - Conjunctions of Religion and Power in the Medieval Past (Hardback)

(author)
£57.00
Hardback 344 Pages / Published: 24/08/2007
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Medieval Arras was a thriving town on the frontier between the kingdom of France and the county of Flanders, and home to Europe's earliest surviving vernacular plays: The Play of St. Nicholas, The Courtly Lad of Arras, The Boy and the Blind Man, The Play of the Bower, and The Play about Robin and about Marion.

In A Common Stage, Carol Symes undertakes a cultural archeology of these artifacts, analyzing the processes by which a handful of entertainments were conceived, transmitted, received, and recorded during the thirteenth century. She then places the resulting scripts alongside other documented performances with which plays shared a common space and vocabulary: the crying of news, publication of law, preaching of sermons, telling of stories, celebration of liturgies, and arrangement of civic spectacles. She thereby shows how groups and individuals gained access to various means of publicity, participated in public life, and shaped public opinion. And she reveals that the theater of the Middle Ages was not merely a mirror of society but a social and political sphere, a vital site for the exchange of information and ideas, and a vibrant medium for debate, deliberation, and dispute.

The result is a book that closes the gap between the scattered textual remnants of medieval drama and the culture of performance from which that drama emerged. A Common Stage thus challenges the prevalent understanding of theater history while offering the first comprehensive history of a community often credited with the invention of French as a powerful literary language.

Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 9780801445811
Number of pages: 344
Weight: 28 g
Dimensions: 238 x 168 x 27 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

"Carol Symes analyzes five of Europe's earliest vernacular plays created in the medieval town of Arras.... She entertains and educates in this most revealing book, making interesting connections between the public sphere and the creation and performance of plays.... Symes seamlessly melds multiple disciplines, utilizing text analysis as well as drawing upon the historical record to create a unique English-language interpretation of the role and meaning of theater in medieval life."

-- Mihaela Luiza Florescu * Comitatus *

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