For the Middle Ages and Renaissance, meaning and power were created and propagated through public performance. Processions, coronations, speeches, trials, and executions are all types of public performance that were both acts and texts: acts that originated in the texts that gave them their ideological grounding; texts that bring to us today a trace of their actual performance. Literature, as well, was for the pre-modern public a type of performance: throughout the medieval and early modern periods we see a constant tension and negotiation between the oral/aural delivery of the literary work and the eventual silent/read reception of its written text. The current volume of essays examines the plurality of forms and meanings given to performance in the Middle Ages and Renaissance through discussion of the essential performance/text relationship. The authors of the essays represent a variety of scholarly disciplines and subject matter: from the "performed" life of the Dominican preacher, to coronation processions, to book presentations; from satirical music speeches, to the rendering of widow portraits, to the performance of romance and pious narrative. Diverse in their objects of study, the essays in this volume all examine the links between the actual events of public performance and the textual origins and subsequent representation of those performances.
Laurie POSTLEWATE: Introduction The Power of Performance Dallas G. DENERY II: The Preacher and His Audience: Dominican Conceptions of the Self in the Thirteenth Century Joyce COLEMAN: Public-Access Patronage: Book-Presentation from the Crowd at a Royal Procession Amy SCHWARZ: Eternal Rome and Cola di Rienzo's Show of Power L. Caitlin JORGENSEN: Diversity in Unity: Elizabeth's Coronation Procession Alejandro CANEQUE: On Cushions and Chairs: The Ritual Contruction of Authority in New Spain Performance and the Page Adrian P. TUDOR: Talking Pictures: Performance on the Page Kathryn A. DUYS: Medieval Literary Performance: Gautier de Coinci's Guide for the Perplexed Paul CREAMER: Privatizing the Conte du Graal: How Renaissance Printers Reformatted Chretien's Public Text for Private Reading Nancy Freeman REGALADO: A Contract for an Early Festival Book: Sarrasin's Le Roman du Hem (1278) William E. ENGEL: Death Slips Onto the Renaissance Stage: Morris Dancing, Mimed Moors, and Nascent Rituals in Fletcher and Shakespeare Evelyn BIRGE VITZ & Linda MARIE ZAERR: Experimenting with the Performance of Medieval Narrative The Performance of Gender Marilyn LAWRENCE: Yseut's Legacy: Women Writers and Performers in the Medieval French Romance Ysaye le Triste Felicity HENDERSON: `A Bawdy Lecture unto Ladies': Music Speeches at Early-Modern Oxford List of Illustrations Contributors