The Origin of Medieval Drama

The Origin of Medieval Drama

The Origin of Medieval Drama

The Origin of Medieval Drama

Synopsis

"This volume demonstrates that the tenth-century liturgical play results from the rapid integration of feudalism. Goldstein's analysis points to the ways in which the liturgical drama arose in a period of rapidly integrating feudalism. The Church, a great landowner, exploited large numbers of peasants. The awareness of the contradiction between the communalistic Eucharist and the Church's exploitation of the peasants diminished faith, inducing the clergy to attempt to revitalize it by creating new theology, new music, new prayers, tropes, new rituals, and the drama. The latter was an enactment of the Quem quaeritis trope, a text that represents the central dogma of Christian faith, the Resurrection with its eschatological hope of salvation." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Curious as it may sound in view of the large quantity of LITerature on the liturgical drama there is as yet no social analysis of the origin of medieval religious drama. Even the very best of the studies on the origin of the drama in the tenth century hardly mention the social relations of the drama. Kings are mentioned but scarcely as parts of institutions like monarchy that had any relation to developing feudalism; the close relation between the monarchy and the church is mentioned but largely as a relation mutually beneficial to church and state, helping to produce stable government and deepened piety and improved morals; the monasteries are mentioned as places of religious retreat and prayer and artistic production of one kind or another but hardly as economic enterprises of a church with vast properties, producing with other landlords the sustenance of the country, nor still less the growing subordination of a large part of the peasantry to the landlords and the constant struggle between them for greater shares of the agricultural surplus; monastic reform is seen as a rejuvenation of learning and culture and a cleaning out of corruption in the religious houses; religion is seen as a system of dogma and liturgical practice and a religiously oriented ethics, but little of this is submitted to critical analysis in terms of some form of the sociology of religion which might help explain forms of religious sentiment as an approach to the creation of the religious drama. This list could be extended, but the point is that much if not all of the critical approaches to the origin of the drama are almost entirely innocent of history.

Other aspects of this drama, the subsequent history of the Visitatio, the origin of nativity plays, saints plays, the mystery cycles, however important, are not relevant to my concern. My concern is the social relations of the origin of the drama.

The chapters are arranged as follows: Chapter 1, “The Received View, Its Critics, and Its Alternatives” presents the central view of the major students of the early medieval drama, the . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.