By Hans-Jurgen Diller, Frances Wessels

The secret performs of medieval England have ordinarily been analysed in methods which centre at the texts and their non secular value. Hans-Jurgen Diller's significant research, first released in German, seeks to get well their dramatic power by means of concentrating on the functionality of language in traditional modes of speech, prayer, tackle and discussion. He appears to be like at speech and dramatic shape within the performs to bare new insights bearing on spatial and temporal orientation, the expression of feelings, and the relationships among characters on level, among actor and viewers, and among the dramatic international and the standard global outdoor it. His research bargains new methods of figuring out the connection of vernacular drama to its liturgical antecedents, and new technique of distinguishing stylistically among the cycles and among the teams of performs they contain.

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Additional resources for The Middle English Mystery Play: A Study in Dramatic Speech and Form (European Studies in English Literature)

Example text

The Revealers will thus be in a position of authority over the Recipients. The physical position of the Revealers will tend to be fixed, while that of the Recipients can change during a scene or from one scene to the next. Above all the Revelation situation is distinguished by the fact that the relationship between the parties is reduced to that between Revealers and Recipients. Their roles exhaust their being. Any interpersonal relations that may have prevailed between the biblical or apocryphal originals of the speakers are rigorously excluded.

32 Elam intends the question in the sense of possible-worlds semantics: by what formal operations can we generate the Second World from the First? I propose to give it a psychological meaning which in the context of the theatre is perhaps more natural: how is the audience (or the congregation) transferred from its First World into the Second ? The Visitatio Sepulchri of the Regularis Concordia tries to manage this transition as imperceptibly as possible. The cleric acting the part of the angel is to enter the choir 'as if he were to do something else' and to approach the sepulchre 'secretly' (latenter).

The central event, the dialogue at the Sepulchre, is only a visualization of what would also 'happen' without it: the re-enactment of the Easter miracle through the ecclesiastical year. Differences from, and similarities to, the vernacular drama become apparent here. The basic structure of 'ascent' to the Second World and 're-descent' to the First, which on occasion transforms the onlookers into participants, is also to be found in the mystery plays. But there the represented events have their own spatio-temporal extension and thus their own structure, which asserts itself within and against the framework of the First World.

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