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Comic Drama in the Low Countries C.1450-1560 (Hardback)

A Critical Anthology

P&S History > Medieval World > Medieval Language & Literature

Imprint: Boydell & Brewer
Pages: 308
ISBN: 9781843842910
Published: 15th March 2012
Casemate UK Academic



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During the Middle Ages and early modern period, a dramatic culture of astonishing vitality developed in the Low Countries. Owing to the activities of organisations known as rederijkerskamers, or "chambers of rhetoric", drama became a central aspect of public life in the cities of the Netherlands. The comedies produced by these groups are particularly interesting. Drawing their forms and narratives from folklore and popular ritual, and entertaining in their own right, they also bring together a range of important concerns; they respond directly to some of the key developments in the period, reflecting the political and religious turmoil of the Reformation and Dutch Revolt, the emergence of humanism, and the appearance of an early capitalist economy. This collection brings together the original Middle Dutch text of ten of these comic plays, with facing translation into modern English. The selection is divided evenly between formal stage-plays and monologues, and provides a representation of the full range of rederijker drama, from the sophisticated Farce of the Fisherman, with its sly undermining of audience expectation, to the hearty scatology of A Mock-Sermon on Saint Nobody, and the grim gallows humour of The Farce of the Beggar. An introduction and notes place the plays in their context and elucidate difficulties of interpretation.

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