Gender and Medieval Drama by Katie Normington

By Katie Normington

The point of interest of this examine is upon the Corpus Christi performs, supplemented by way of different functionality practices corresponding to festive and social entertainments, civic parades, funeral processions and public punishments. the most argument pertains to the conventional ways to women's non-performance within the Corpus Christi dramas, yet different components are thought of and analysed, together with the semiotics of the cross-dressed actor and the importance of the visible and spatial language of the processional level to gender debates. In end, there's a sequence of readings which think again the dramatic portrayal of a variety of holy and vulgar ladies - the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene, Mrs Noah and Dame Procula. The emphasis through the ebook is upon a performance-based research. proof from documents of Early English Drama, social, literary and cultural assets are drawn jointly so one can examine how performances in the overdue center a long time have been either formed via, and formed, the general public snapshot of girls. KATIE NORMINGTON is Lecturer in Drama, Royal Holloway, London.

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23 In fact the reports of performances by French women often emphasise the success of their vocal skills. 24 While at Metz the eighteen year-old girl who played Catherine of Siena ‘spoke in such a lively and pleading way that she made people 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 Kowaleski and Bennett, ‘Crafts, Gilds and Women’, p. 15. Chester: REED, ed. M. Clopper (Toronto: University of Toronto, 1979), p. 85. See York: REED, p. 782. There is no evidence that Margaret is a guild member. She may have been professionally employed for this task.

For a fuller discussion of Coletti’s points, see ‘Reading REED’, pp. 248–84. 32 The use of ‘la’ indicates that the performer was female, but as John Wasson suggests: It is tempting to conclude that this tumbler was a woman, but it is unclear how much weight is to be put on the ‘la’ in a macaronic phrase like this. 33 It is tempting to read more into the use of the female tense here than is reliably safe. At Coventry the 1543 Corpus Christi Guild Account Book reveals another methodological ambiguity.

Goldberg, ‘Women’, Fifteenth Century Attitudes: Perceptions of Society in Late Medieval England, ed. Rosemary Horrox (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), p. 131. Rigby, English Society, p. 277. Goldberg, Women, Work and Life Cycle, p. 121. 41 It is difficult to determine the reasons as to why women achieved little public authority. The guilds that excluded women did so for the benefit of their own traders. Competition from a surplus of workers could be limited, and this form of social exclusion ensured that their own members enjoyed a protected status.

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