Aspects of the Performative in Medieval Culture

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The volume assesses performative structures within a variety of medieval forms of textuality, from vernacular literature to records of parliamentary proceedings, from prayer books to musical composition. Three issues are central to the volume: the role of ritual speech acts; the way in which authorship can be seen as created within medieval texts rather than as a given category; finally, phenomena of voice, created and situated between citation and repetition, especially in forms which appropriate and transform literary tradition. The volume encompasses articles by historians and musicologists as well as literary scholars. It spans European literature from the West (French, German, Italian) to the East (Church Slavonic), vernacular and Latin; it contrasts modes of liturgical meditation in the Western and Eastern Church with secular plays and songs, and it brings together studies on the character of 'voice' in major medieval authors such as Dante with examples of Dante-reception in the early twentieth century.