Performing Medieval Text

Ardis Butterfield
June 2019

Texts of different kinds grant insight into the rich cultural canvas of the Middle Ages: epic poetry, vernacular lyric, and music; liturgical rites and ceremonial manuals; manuscripts, illuminations, modern adaptations and editions, and many more. Adopting a range of disciplinary perspectives—literary studies, liturgical studies, and musicology—this collection of essays reveals the two-fold performative nature of such texts: they document, mediate, or prefigure acts of performance, while at the same time taking on performative roles themselves by generating additional layers of meaning. Focussing on acts, authors, and performative processes of reception, the contributors demonstrate the significance of the performative to the culture and study of the High and Late Middle Ages (c.1000–1500), from troubadour songs and Minnesang to motets, from the biblical figure of Job to Christine de Pizan and Dante, from Scandinavia to Béarn and Imperial Augsburg.

Henry Hope (Music) and Pauline Souleau (French) are early-career researchers at the universities of Bern and Oxford; with Ardis Butterfield (John M. Schiff Professor of English, Professor of French and Music at Yale University) they share an interest in transcending linguistic, national, generic, and disciplinary borders in the study of medieval texts.