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This collection of essays presents the multiplicity of dramatic and paradramatic activity that flourished in medieval and early modern England at the parish level. The evidence here adduced is largely from churchwardens' accounts and from the records of the ecclesiastical courts. The book contains ten articles that consider the various money making ventures undertaken by English parishes for the support of the church. The authors study subjects ranging from paradramatic activities such as rushbearing, dancing and bull and bear baiting through more hybrid and problematical events such as the king games and Robin Hood gatherings and plays, to what can be considered 'true' drama with sets, props, texts and actors. All the contributors are editors in the Records of Early English Drama project and bring to their material the insights of scholars working with original material in what are still only partially charted waters.
»Ludus« intends to introduce those interested in literature, in the performing arts, or in history to the various aspects of theatre and drama from the Middle Ages and the Early Renaissance. It publishes books on closely defined topics, mostly seen from a comparative point of view.
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Late medieval and renaissance cities, though powerful communities jealous of their own jurisdiction, were constantly negotiating their relationships with other secular and religious authorities. The seven essays in this collection treat various aspects of civic display and pageantry during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The overwhelming sense one receives is that the solemne pomps were essentially about power — how to get it, display it, share it and retain it. Each paper demonstrates how, through ceremony and symbol, municipalities sought to fashion their own corporate self-image in order to establish the limits of their authority in relationship to the countervailing powers sur-rounding them. The essays are concerned with the period before the ever widening impact of the Reformation and the intellectual and political revolutions it spawned had reached the level of civic pageantry. In the varied rituals considered here we can see reflected the highly sophisticated minds of their creators using the symbolic landscape of their religious and cultural past in important acts of corporate self-fashioning.