The Middle English Mystery Play: A Study in Dramatic Speech by Hans-Jurgen Diller, Frances Wessels

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By Hans-Jurgen Diller, Frances Wessels

The secret performs of medieval England have regularly been analysed in methods which centre at the texts and their non secular importance. Hans-Jurgen Diller's significant learn, first released in German, seeks to recuperate their dramatic power by means of targeting the functionality of language in traditional modes of speech, prayer, handle and discussion. He seems to be at speech and dramatic shape within the performs to bare new insights pertaining to spatial and temporal orientation, the expression of feelings, and the relationships among characters on degree, among actor and viewers, and among the dramatic global and the standard international outdoor it. His research bargains new methods of figuring out the connection of vernacular drama to its liturgical antecedents, and new technique of distinguishing stylistically among the cycles and among the teams of performs they contain.

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Additional resources for The Middle English Mystery Play: A Study in Dramatic Speech and Form (European Studies in English Literature)

Sample text

Messerer have demonstrated that the beholder does not 'face' the painting, but that he must allow himself to become the addressee of the gesture represented in the picture. The reduction to few but significant gestures prevents the beholder from mere emotional empathy, for instance with the three Women at the Sepulchre. 36 And the beholder of the cult image as well as of the dramatic Revelation situation is part of the represented event, standing as it were in the continuation of that line of communication which leads from the Revealer to the (represented) Recipient, being present at the gestures of announcing and hearing and sharing their communicative effect.

That differentiation, which is also characteristic in the religious service as such, shows once more that the liturgy gave the early liturgical drama not only isolated formal features, but also its basic structural principle. When the Christmas services were embellished by quasi-dramatic interpolations, they adopted not only the dialogue pattern of the Quern quaeritis but also the basic structure of the Revelation situation. The apocryphal Obstetrices appear in dialogue both with the Pastores and with the Magi.

The messengers, soldiers, and scribes do not merely obey 36 The foil: Latin church drama Herod's orders, but in obeying they show fear, submissiveness, and anxiety. With this the wide field of interpersonal relationships becomes a necessary object of dramatic treatment. Such relationships we do not expect to be manifested in isolated utterances. Large chunks of dialogue have to be matched, thus creating, potentially, a continuous substratum of characters, moods, and reactions. This creates the further possibility of altering mood and tone in the course of the dialogue.

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