Les Mystères

Studies in Genre, Text and Theatricality


Volume Editors: Peter Happé and Wim Hüsken
This collection of essays in English by scholars of international standing presents new insights into the contexts in which the fifteenth-century French mystères were created. It is centred upon the remarkable outburst of large-scale plays written for urban production and dealing with biblical and hagiological subjects which transformed the art of theatre in France and gave rise to a new and multi-faceted theatrical culture. Among the subjects treated are the means by which surviving texts preserve theatrical practice, and some of the ways in which the work of the principal dramatists Eustache Mercadé, Arnoul Gréban and Jean Michel interact with one another and with the work of others. The nature of some surviving texts is subjected to close scrutiny and this includes detailed work upon some manuscripts and their typology. Attention is also given to the related moralités, the convent drama, and to the large corpus of Catalan plays which deal with similar topics but in different circumstances. Further contexts are addressed through paradramatic aspects including sermons and the chansons de geste, as well as the political environment. One recurring feature is the nature and activities of ubiquitous and powerful evil characters and their theatrical and theological significance.

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Peter Happé: Introduction
Véronique Dominguez: Mystère, Farce, Moralité: A Reflection upon the Poetics of Drama in the Middle Ages, Based on Ms. BnF fr. 904, Passion de Semur (Fifteenth Century), and Some Other Burgundian Manuscripts
Vicki L. Hamblin: The Theatricality of Pre- and Post-Performance French Mystery Play Texts
Peter Happé: Michel Adapts Gréban: Some Aspects of the Passion Sequence
Olivia Robinson: Chantilly, Musée Condé, Ms. 617: Mystères as Convent Drama
Charlotte Steenbrugge: “Haro! Haro! Sus, dyablerie”: The Theatricality of Devils in Temptation Sequences
Marla Carlson: Le Mystère de Saint Sébastien’s Villain: “No Cuckoo is a Sparrowhawk”
Richard Hillman: La Pucelle and the Godons in the Mistère du Siège d’Orléans: Civic Pageant and Popular Tradition
Alan Hindley: “Laisser l’Istoire …et Moralisier ung Petit”: Aspects of Allegory in the Mystères
Jelle Koopmans: Turning a Chanson de Geste into a Mystery, or Non-Religious and Chivalric Mystery Plays
Charles Mazouer: Sermons in the Passions of Mercadé, Gréban and Jehan Michel
Francesc Massip and Lenke Kovács: A Typology of Catalan Play Manuscripts from the Fourteenth to the Sixteenth Century