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29 - Affective literature and sacred themes in fifteenth-century music

from Part VI - Religious devotion and liturgy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 July 2015

Anna Maria Busse Berger
Affiliation:
University of California, Davis
Jesse Rodin
Affiliation:
Stanford University, California
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Summary

The touching episodes of Jesus' Nativity were memorialized visually in illuminated books of hours, in sculptures of the scene in the stable in Bethlehem and in the architecture of countless churches dedicated to the Mother of God. One experience that was common was the reading of sacred affective literature. Affective treatises required the reader to immerse herself in the details of Jesus' life and that of the Virgin. A single treatise of affective devotion from the fourteenth century served as the basis for almost every aspect of devotional piety in the late Middle Ages. Another category of affective writing that helped mold sacred music in the fifteenth century is important because of its early date and the special relationship it bears to mass and motet. Scores of dramatic works composed in the vernacular helped make the lives and attributes of Christ and the Virgin more comprehensible while also facilitating the flow of ideas between the sacred and secular spheres.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2015

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