A Cultural History of Tragedy In The Middle Ages

Jody Enders, Theresa Coletti, John T. Sebastian, Carol Symes

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook


Historically, scholars have largely endorsed the truism that there was no such thing as medieval tragedy, a genre long believed to have died between 500 and 1500 as it awaited its literal Renaissance rebirth. Now, for the first time, a distinguished group of authors comes forward to recalibrate our thinking by rewriting the cultural history of tragedy in the Middle Ages. Reports of the so-called death of medieval tragedy, they argue, have been greatly exaggerated; and, for the Middle Ages, the stakes couldn’t be higher. Eight essays offer a blueprint for future study as they take up the extensive but much-neglected medieval engagement with tragic genres, modes, and performances from the vantage points of gender, politics, theology, history, social theory, anthropology, philosophy, economics, and media studies. The result? A recuperated medieval tragedy that is as much a branch of literature as it is of theology, politics, law, or ethics and which, at long last, rejoins the millennium-long conversation about one of the world’s most enduring art forms.

Each chapter takes a different theme as its focus: forms and media; sites of performance and circulation; communities of production and consumption; philosophy and social theory; religion, ritual and myth; politics of city and nation; society and family, and gender and sexuality. As a whole, the volume provides a panoramic view rich in spatial, temporal, formal, and contextual concerns.
Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
Number of pages228
ISBN (Electronic)9781474208222
ISBN (Print)9781474287906
StatePublished - 2020

Publication series

NameA Cultural History of Tragedy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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