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The Idea of the Theater in Latin Christian Thought: Augustine to the Fourteenth Century

  • Edmund P. Cueva (a1)

Abstract

This is an unusual but good and sensible book. I write that it is unusual because The Idea of the Theater in Latin Christian Thought does not follow the predictable pattern of looking at the “materiality of medieval theater practices and historiography” (2). It instead looks at theatre as it appears in medieval thought and as “moments in European intellectual history” (4). Dox leads the reader through a thorough and erudite survey of the writings of some of the Latin Christian authors. She begins with Saint Augustine of Hippo and ends with Bartholomew of Bruges. The text has three major goals. First, the author examines what different postclassical, Christian authors knew about or thought of Greco-Roman theatre as a function of written discourse. The second goal is to keep the discussion of the late-antique and medieval understanding of ancient classical theatre in the intellectual contexts in which the texts were used. Lastly, Latin Christian views on classical theatre are examined in detail. The conclusion of this analysis demonstrates that the idea of “truth” as different from “falsehood” in the writings by the Latin Christian authors was the focus of their texts, rather than any actual interest in classical tragedy and comedy as genres in their own right.

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