The Early "Anglo-Norman" and French Tradition

Authored by: Robert Clark

The Routledge Research Companion to Early Drama and performance

Print publication date:  December  2016
Online publication date:  December  2016

Print ISBN: 9781472421401
eBook ISBN: 9781315612898
Adobe ISBN: 9781317043669


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As discussed in the preceding chapter by Jelle Koopmans, the earliest flowering of vernacular French drama occurred in the Picardian north, particularly in the wealthy town of Arras. Although the poets of Arras – among them Jehan Bodel, Adam de la Halle, and the anonymous author of Courtois d’Arras – belonged to a religious association, the Confraternity of Notre-Dame-des-Ardents, or of the Burghers and Jongleurs of Arras, their identification was foremost with their city and their class. Thus, unlike the religious poetry produced by jongleurs and trouvères in association with the puys of the North, the Arras plays treat of commerce and trade, of class prerogatives and morality, without necessarily casting off, at least in the case of Jehan Bodel, the religious framework of a miracle or saint’s play. The expression of communal concerns, those of a specific religious and social group, also characterizes the drama produced in the greatest urban center of the medieval French-speaking world, Paris, 2 but may also be seen in the Ordo representacionis Ade (referred to in modern scholarship as the Jeu d’Adam), occasionally as the Mystère d’Adam, a dramatic ordo whose composition Catherine Bougy has dated to the second half of the twelfth century (Bougy 2014, 179). It may thus pre-date the earliest Arras plays by as much as a half century.

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