The Medieval Theater of Cruelty: Rhetoric, Memory, Violence

The Medieval Theater of Cruelty: Rhetoric, Memory, Violence

by Jody Enders
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0801433347

ISBN-13: 9780801433344

Pub. Date: 12/28/1998

Publisher: Cornell University Press

Why did medieval dramatists weave so many scenes of torture into their plays? Exploring the cultural connections among rhetoric, law, drama, literary creation, and violence, Jody Enders addresses an issue that has long troubled students of the Middle Ages. Theories of rhetoric and law of the time reveal, she points out, that the ideology of torture was a widely

Overview

Why did medieval dramatists weave so many scenes of torture into their plays? Exploring the cultural connections among rhetoric, law, drama, literary creation, and violence, Jody Enders addresses an issue that has long troubled students of the Middle Ages. Theories of rhetoric and law of the time reveal, she points out, that the ideology of torture was a widely accepted means for exploiting such essential elements of the stage and stagecraft as dramatic verisimilitude, pity, fear, and catharsis to fabricate truth. Analyzing the consequences of torture for the history of aesthetics in general and of drama in particular, Enders shows that if the violence embedded in the history of rhetoric is acknowledged, we are better able to understand not only the enduring "theater of cruelty" identified by theorists from Isidore of Seville to Antonin Artaud, but also the continuing modern devotion to the spectacle of pain.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801433344
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
Publication date:
12/28/1998
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.13(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)
Lexile:
1620L (what's this?)

Table of Contents

Illustrationsix
Prefacexi
Abbreviationsxv
A Polemical Introduction1
Chapter 1.The Dramatic Violence of Invention25
The Inventional Drama of Torture28
Rhetoric and Drama, Torture and Truth38
The Violent Invention of Drama48
Chapter 2.The Memory of Pain63
Foundational Violence71
Violent Births, Miscarriages of Justice, Tortured Spaces82
The Architecture of the Body in Pain96
Violent Origins and Virtual Performances111
Dramatic Figuration and Mnemonic Disfigurement in Medieval French Drama120
Pedagogy, Spectacle, and the Mnemonic Agon129
The Memory of Drama152
Chapter 3.The Performance of Violence160
Pleasure, Pain, and the Spectacle of Scourging170
Witnesses at the Scene185
Special Effects192
Death by Drama202
Violence and Performativity on the French Medieval Stage: A Retrospective218
Conclusion: Vicious Cycles230
Works Cited239
Index261

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