Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo / Portale Web di Ateneo


Theatre plays in the English, German and Dutch Middle Ages
Il teatro nel Medio Evo inglese, tedesco e olandese

A.Y. Credits
2018/2019 8
Lecturer Email Office hours for students
Alessandra Molinari
Teaching in foreign languages
Course partially taught in a foreign language English German
This course is taught partially in Italian and partially in a foreign language. Study materials can be provided in the foreign language and the final exam can be taken in the foreign language.

Assigned to the Degree Course

Foreign languages and intercultural studies (LM-37)
Date Time Classroom / Location
Date Time Classroom / Location

Learning Objectives

This courses analyses the sources of medieval theatre. Through source analysis (as they appear in their manuscript context), we will reconstruct the world of medieval theatre, the modes of theatre performance in the Middle Ages, the role theatre played in communities speaking languages with a so-called ‘Old-Germanic’ origin (with main focus on German, English and Dutch), and the relationship between theatre texts and other literary texts.

As a theoretical approach to the study of theatre sources, we will apply philological hermeneutics with a major focus on its component called Einfühlung (‘empathy’). Einfühlung consists, first, in reconstructing the cultural-linguistic code(s) as expressed in a text and its linguistic and situational contexts; second, in applying one’s own imagination and emotions while trying to catch the point(s) of view expressed in a text as a representative of the historical-cultural setting in which that text was first formulated.


1. Introduction to theatre and to medieval theatre. Functions and roles of theatre in medieval societies. Interplay between religious and lay issues, and between Latin and vernacular sources in forging theatre experience in the Middle Ages. 

2. Presentation of the texts  and their contents to be working on during this seminar. We will choose to focus on one of these areas:

2.1. Liturgical ludi ('plays'). E.g. Ludus de passione (Carmina Burana), 12th century. Latin text with passages in Middle High German (Bavarian). The topos of the 'holy whore' as embedded in a Palm Sunday setting.

2.2. Liturgical dramas. E.g. Mystery plays (e.g. Wakefield Cycle, Middle English): The play of Noah, 15th century. Noah's wife refuses for a while to step into her husband's Ark. Her initial refusal develops into a scene with highly comical tones.

2.3. Lay dramas. E.g. From the Middle Dutch Abele spelen, one play: Een abel spel van Lanseloet van Denemerken, ca. 1350 . A modern drama on a servant's emancipation from her master  (a 'love story with happy end').

3. Guest lecture: "Alla ricerca dell’inglese parlato: esempi dal dramma tardo-medioevale ed early modern". Professoressa Roberta Mullini (emeritus, Uniurb).

4. Philology and employability within the EU-funded project Aula Emprende: design thinking lab for philology and humanity students


Teaching Material

The teaching material prepared by the lecturer in addition to recommended textbooks (such as for instance slides, lecture notes, exercises, bibliography) and communications from the lecturer specific to the course can be found inside the Moodle platform › blended.uniurb.it

« back Last update: 30/05/2019


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