This edition of John Lydgate’s Dance of Death offers a detailed comparison of the different text versions, a new scholarly edition and translation of Guy Marchant’s 1485 French Danse Macabre text, and an art-historical analysis of its woodcut illustrations.
It addresses the cultural context and historical circumstances of Lydgate’s poem and its model, the mural of 1424-25 with accompanying French poem in Paris, as well as their precursors, notably the Vado mori poems and the Legend of the Three Living and the Three Dead. It discusses authorship, the personification and vizualisation of Death, and the wider dissemination of the Dance. The edited texts include commentaries, notes, and a glossary.
Clifford Davidson, Ph.D. (Wayne State University, 1966), Professor Emeritus of English and Medieval Studies, former director of the Early Drama, Art, and Music project, Western Michigan University, and a founding editor of Comparative Drama. Publications include many books, editions, and articles.
Sophie Oosterwijk, Ph.D. in Art History (Leicester, 1999) and English Literature (Leiden, 2009), Honorary Research Fellow at the University of St Andrews. She has published two edited volumes and numerous articles on the Danse Macabre, medieval tomb monuments and commemoration.
“[…], Davidson’s and Oosterwijk’s volume [...] offers a deeply researched, wide-ranging, and profoundly valuable overview of major Anglo-French contributions to the broader danse macabre tradition.”
- Elizaveta Strakhov, University of Marquette, USA in Speculum, 2023.
“[…] this volume is a tour-de-force and there can be little doubt that it will stand the test of time and be widely accepted as a standard work.”
- Sally Badham, Peregrinations: Journal of Medieval Art and Architecture, 7, 4, 2021.
Preface List of Figures Biographical Information
The Dance of Paul’s
Iconographic Representations of Death
The Dance of Death and the Popular Imagination
The Role of Death in Life
A Topical and Adaptable Motif
The Origins of the Dance of Death
The Danse Macabre Mural in Paris
Further Dissemination of the Danse Macabre
Manuscripts and Printed Texts
Manuscripts of the A–Group
Manuscripts of the B–Group
Part 1: John Lydgate’s Dance of Death
2 Edited Texts: John Lydgate’s Dance of Death
MS. Bodleian Selden Supra 53
Lansdowne MS. 699, fols. 41–50
Oxford, Douce BB53
3 Textual Notes: John Lydgate’s Dance of Death
A-Group (Bodleian Library, MS. Selden Supra 53)
B-Group (British Library, MS. Lansdowne 699)
Textual Notes to Douce BB.53 (Fakes Edition)
4 Critical Notes: John Lydgate’s Dance of Death
Stanzas Only in the B–Group, Following the Order of Lansdowne MS. 699
Part 2: The French Danse Macabre
5 Edited Text and Translation: Guy Marchant’s Danse Macabre (1485)
6 Woodcuts and Comments: Guy Marchant’s Danse Macabre (1485)
7 Textual Notes: Guy Marchant’s Danse Macabre (1485)
8 Critical Notes: Guy Marchant’s Danse Macabre (1485)
Appendix: Transcription of the “Chambéry roll”, a French Dramatized Danse Macabre Text of the Late Fourteenth or Early Fifteenth Century (Collection Claudius Bouvier, Archives départementales de Savoie, Chambéry, France) Bibliography Glossary Index
Scholars of Middle English and French literature, esp. Lydgate scholars, and anyone interested in medieval death and the macabre in word and image.