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Defining Acts: Drama and the Politics of Interpretation in Late Medieval England

 
 
 
 
Defining Acts: Drama and the Politics of Interpretation in Late Medieval England
Author: Ruth Nisse
ISBN 13: 9780268036027
ISBN 10: 268036020
Edition: N/A
Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press
Publication Date: 2005-03-02
Format: Paperback
Pages: 226
List Price: $23.00
 
 

Defining Acts considers how the surviving English theatrical works of the fourteenth and fifteenth century represent competing practices of interpretation. The plays take up a series of contests over who could legitimately determine the meaning of texts-men or women, clerics or laity, rulers or subjects, Christians or Jews-and transform these questions for audiences far beyond their original medieval academic contexts. Ruth Nisse focuses in particular on how theater translates the temporal ideas of textual exegesis into spatial models and politics. She situates medieval drama both in its vernacular literary setting, as a genre composed against the same cultural background as The Canterbury Tales, Piers Plowman, and The Book of Margery Kempe, and in its performances, which negotiate a range of contemporary social and political issues.