Etudes Sur Les Mysteres: Un Recueil De 22 Etudes Sur Les Mysteres Francais, Suivi D'un Repertoire Du Theatre Religieux Francais Du Moyen Age et D'une Bibliographie

By Knight, Alan E. | Medium Aevum, January 1, 2000 | Go to article overview

Etudes Sur Les Mysteres: Un Recueil De 22 Etudes Sur Les Mysteres Francais, Suivi D'un Repertoire Du Theatre Religieux Francais Du Moyen Age et D'une Bibliographie


Knight, Alan E., Medium Aevum


Graham A. Runnalls, Etudes sur les mysteres: un recueil de 22 etudes sur les mysteres francais, suivi d'un repertoire du theatre religieux francais du moyen age et d'une bibliographie, Champion-Varia 14 (Paris: Honore Champion, 1998). 512 pp. ISBN 2-85203-743-2. F. Fr. 430.00.

Anyone who has dealt with medieval French religious theatre knows the work of Graham Runnalls, a scholar whose contributions to the field include critical editions of numerous mystery plays and play fragments, along with many ground-breaking articles concerning the writing and production of the plays and the history and transmission of their texts. In the volume under review Runnalls has combined the best of these articles into a fairly unified study of the French mystery play. Two of the items, written for audiences of medieval historians and published here for the first time, provide an overview of the topic for the non-specialist. The remaining twenty studies first appeared in journals or collections of essays between 1976 and 1996. The articles are evenly divided between French and English, the latter being supplied with a resume in French. All articles have been newly formatted, and, where appropriate, bibliographical references have been updated. The volume includes a very helpful repertory of all medieval French religious plays and an ample bibliography.

The studies are arranged according to subject matter under five headings, the first of which deals with the definition and the genre of the mystere. In the opening article Runnalls counters the negative judgements of earlier critics by showing that the mystery play is closely akin to romantic drama in its portrayal of the teeming variety of life and that its character cannot be measured by the classical norms of gravity and restraint. The second section includes documentary studies of the production of mystery plays in various regions of France. Here two articles present the results of Runnalls's pioneering research on the types and frequency of dramatic spectacles in the Auvergne. Together they provide a socio-historical context for the Passion d'Auvergne, which Runnalls has edited (Geneva, 1982). There is also a thorough examination of the dramatic patronage of Rene d'Anjou, a figure whose influence on medieval drama is too little recognized. …

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Etudes Sur Les Mysteres: Un Recueil De 22 Etudes Sur Les Mysteres Francais, Suivi D'un Repertoire Du Theatre Religieux Francais Du Moyen Age et D'une Bibliographie
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