This book provides the first comprehensive study of the performance of medieval narrative, using examples from England and the Continent and a variety of genres to examine the crucial question of whether - and how - medieval narratives were indeed intended for performance. Moving beyond the familiar dichotomy between oral and written literature, the various contributions emphasize the range and power of medieval performance traditions, and demonstrate that knowledge of the modes and means of performance is crucial for appreciating medieval narratives. The book is divided into four main parts, with each essay engaging with a specific issue or work, relating it to larger questions about performance. It first focuses on representations of the art of medieval performers of narrative. It then examines relationships between narrative performances and the material books that inspired, recorded, or represented them. The next section studies performance features inscribed in texts and the significance of considering performability. The volume concludes with contributions by present-day professional performers who bring medieval narratives to life for contemporary audiences. Topics covered include orality, performance, storytelling, music, drama, the material book, public reading, and court life.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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