Robert S. SturgesThe circulation of power in medieval Biblical drama: theaters of authority
Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2015, 240 pp.
Medieval drama based on the Bible commonly directs its audiences toward a Christian interpretation, but equally interesting, and less frequently investigated by scholars, are the plays' modes of resistance to Christian authority. Through a reading informed by the recent temporal turn in queer theory, Robert S. Sturges revitalizes discussions of medieval drama by focusing on how these plays depict the dissemination of power throughout medieval culture. As Sturges shows, power and ultimately resistance were typically enacted through the human body, objects, gender, politics, economics, law, and theater itself, as well as religion. Through these nuanced readings, medieval Biblical drama emerges as more relevant to modern, secular, and multicultural audiences.
1. Introduction: Power, History, Drama
2. The Body: Bare Life in the Passion Plays
3. Things: Objects and Agency in the Trial and Crucifixion Plays
4. Gender/Politics: Resistant Motherhood in the Innocents Plays and the Planctus Mariae
5. Economics: Money, Labor, and Ideology in the Wakefield Master's Plays
6. Law: Obligation and Legal Parody in the Cain and Abel Plays
7. Theater: Audience and Authority.