English Literature at the Close of the Middle Ages

By E. K. Chambers | Go to book overview

I MEDIEVAL DRAMA

MEDIEVAL drama, in England as elsewhere, owes nothing to the tragedy and comedy of insolent Greece and haughty Rome. Before the Christian era began these were already a closed account. The plays of Seneca were probably intended for readers only. In the theatre of Pompey legendary stories were sung to the dancing of a pantomimus, and mimi, long branded with infamy, performed satirical and shameless farces. They did not spare the new religion, and in return the theatrical performances became the subject of many condemnations by ecclesiastical writers from the De Spectaculis of Tertullian onwards, and in more formal pronouncements by early councils of the western Church. If Augustine and others still retain some interest in the classical playwrights, it is as literature only, not as living drama. The degenerate theatre finally disappeared during the barbaric invasions of the sixth century, and the dispossessed histriones, as they were then called, were driven afoot, to merge with the descendants of the story-telling Teutonic poets, in the miscellaneous body of entertainers who haunted the towns and thoroughfares of the Middle Ages. They are still mimi and histriones, but also ioculatores, and, in so far as they became domesticated in courts or great houses, ministeriales, minstrels. Some tradition of impersonation, which, at any rate when accompanied with dialogue, amounts to drama, survived amongst them. There is playing of 'japis' or jests, as well as of more serious things, in the fourteenth century 'L'uns fet l'ivre, rautre le sot.' There are estrifs or disputes, and débats. As a body the minstrels inherit the clerical hostility evoked by the infamous element in their ancestry. They are condemned by the canon law, as codified by Gratian in the twelfth century, and by the Decretals of Gregory IX in the thirteenth. The Penitential of Thomas de Cabham, a little later, is more discriminating, and recognizes a higher as well as the lower element in minstrelsy. A few writers, in the twelfth century, and again in the fourteenth, use language which shows a consciousness of a theatrical origin for the lower element. Thus Walter Reynolds, who became Archbishop of Canterbury

-1-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
English Literature at the Close of the Middle Ages
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Oxford History of English Literature i
  • The Oxford History of English Literature ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Editors' Note v
  • Contents vi
  • I Medieval Drama 1
  • II The Carol and Fifteenth-Century Lyric 66
  • III Popular Narrative Poetry and the Ballad 122
  • IV Malory 185
  • Bibliography 206
  • Index 233
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 252

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    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.