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Forms of Pretence in Pre-Modern Drama: From the Visitatio Sepulchri to Hamlet

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Published in European Medieval Drama. 2016, vol. 20, p. 181-202
Abstract An English Visitatio Sepulchri sequence recorded in the tenth-century includes rubricated directives which have led critics to label its mechanisms of pretence as ‘mimetic’ or ‘representational’. What else could be more appropriate to a text that exhorts the brothers to move ‘in likeness of’ (ad similitudinem) the women seeking the tomb, and when all actions executed before the sung dialogue are to be in the manner of ‘a copying, an imitation’ (ad imitationem)? But it is possible, as I will argue throughout this article, that imitation does not always mean imitation, and that modern critical terminology is wholly unsuitable for the form of ‘agreed pretence’ at work not only in such liturgical performances, but also in other forms of pre-modern drama. This paper will investigate the implications of the terms imitatio and similitudo within the context of sung liturgical performances, as well as considering how such instructions might complicate critical understandings of pre-modern drama. Furthermore, I will contend that these terms are employed with a flexibility that forces a wider and more accommodating engagement with pre-modern dramatic forms and practices.
Keywords MimesisImitatioLiturgical performanceVisitatio SepulchriEarly English dramaHamletRepresentationActing stylesIconography of liturgical performanceMovementKinesic intelligence.
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BRAZIL, Sarah Jane. Forms of Pretence in Pre-Modern Drama: From the Visitatio Sepulchri to Hamlet. In: European Medieval Drama, 2016, vol. 20, p. 181-202. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:103045

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Deposited on : 2018-03-20

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