Medieval French Miracle Plays

Seven Falsely Accused Women

By Carol J. Harvey

In the Middle Ages, religious theater was a popular medium for both the edification and the entertainment of the public. This book centers on seven of the forty "Miracles de Nostre Dame par personnages" plays, produced annually for the Goldsmiths' Guild of Paris and surviving in the 14th-century Cange Manuscript. This is the first in-depth study of a subset performed between 1368 and 1379 about women unjustly accused of adultery or monstrous birth, or threatened with rape or incest. Surprisingly modern themes of female empowerment, self-mutilation, and cross-dressing emerge as the women are forced into exile to escape death, but are eventually vindicated with the miraculous help of Our Lady. The book demonstrates that in addition to the plays' religious significance and literary qualities, they engage with the goldsmiths' spiritual and material concerns, reflect their urban culture, and promote their socio-political agenda during the war and turmoil of 14th-century France. "...the reader benefits greatly from the combination of plot resumes, critical commmentary, and insightful interpretation that Harvey's own writing style makes it a pleasure to read". Beverly J. Evans, State U. of NY at Geneseo, Dalhousie French Studies 96, 2011


167 pages

Publication Date: 4/14/2011
Format: Cloth
ISBN: 9781846822735