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Chapter 14 - Convent and City

Medieval Women and Drama

from IV - Genre and Gender

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 July 2023

Corinne Saunders
Affiliation:
Durham University
Diane Watt
Affiliation:
University of Surrey
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Summary

This essay examines medieval women dramatists, from Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim in tenth-century Germany, through Hildegard of Bingen and her Ordo Virtutum (Play of the Virtues) in the twelfth century, to Katherine Sutton, Abbess of Barking in the late fourteenth century, who composed liturgical dramas for Holy Week. The essay locates these women dramatists within the wider context of medieval convent performances in England and Europe, and shows that religious women were not only authors but also actors, directors, and costume makers; their convents provided the play space, while laywomen sometimes also contributed. Niebrzydowski also explores the often speculative or conjectural evidence for womenߣs participation in drama outside the convents. Although there is only one definitive English example of women as associated with a Corpus Christi production, a lost Chester pageant of ߢour Lady thassumpcionߣ, other fragmentary evidence suggests lay womenߣs involvement in a range of dramatic forms from saintsߣ lives, interludes, and morality plays to processions and pageants.

Type
Chapter
Information
Women and Medieval Literary Culture
From the Early Middle Ages to the Fifteenth Century
, pp. 285 - 298
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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References

Further Reading

Bagnall Yardley, Anne, and Mann, Jesse D. (2014). The Liturgical Dramas for Holy Week at Barking Abbey, Medieval Feminist Forum, Subsidia Series, vol. 3, Medieval Texts in Translation 1, pp. 141, available online at https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1985&context=mff.Google Scholar
Classen, Albrecht (2010). ‘Sex on the Stage (and in the Library) of an Early Medieval Convent: Hrotsvit of Gandersheim, a Tenth-Century Convent Playwright’s Successful Competition Against the Roman Poet Terence’. Orbis Litterarum 65.3, 167200.Google Scholar
Clopper, Lawrence M., ed. (1979). Records of Early English Drama: Chester, Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
Coldstream, Nicola (2012). ‘The Roles of Women in Late Medieval Civic Pageantry in England’. In Reassessing the Roles of Women as ‘Makers’ of Medieval Art and Architecture, ed. Martin, Therese. Leiden: Brill, 175–96.Google Scholar
Coletti, Theresa, ed. (2018). The Digby Mary Magdalene Play, Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications.Google Scholar
Johnson, Alexandra F., and Rogerson, Margaret, eds. (1979). Records of Early English Drama: York, vol. 1, Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
Normington, Katie (2004). Gender and Medieval Drama, Cambridge: D. S. Brewer.Google Scholar
Robinson, Olivia (Liv), and Dutton, Elisabeth (2020). ‘Drama, performance and touch in the medieval convent and beyond’. In Touching, Devotional Practice and Visionary Experience in the Late Middle Ages, ed. Carrillo-Rangel, David, Nieto, Delfi Isabel, and Garcia, Pablo Acosta. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 4368.Google Scholar
Sergi, Matthew (2020). Practical Cues and Social Spectacle in the Chester Plays, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
St John, Christopher Marie, ed. (1923). The Plays of Roswitha, London: Chatto & Windus.Google Scholar

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