Performance and Transformation

A Three-Dimensional Approach to Medieval Devotional and Ecstatic Texts
Date published: 
February 1999

Performance and Transformation is a volume of essays that pushes the frontiers of interpretation on mystical and ecstatic writings of the later Middle Ages to explore them as particular performances. The noteworthy contributors examine mysticism and spirituality from multiple performance perspectives: dramatic, kinesthetic, linguistic, and spatial. Emerging from recent work on ritual, performance, mysticism, and the body, the authors offer new ways of analyzing these performances and their construction through questioning the various modes through which they were conveyed. Performance perspectives reveal women's public leadership roles within their communities, the nature of devotional 'reading' and 'authoring' in manuscript cultures, and women's roles in developing and performing rituals and texts that would transform future generations. The emphasis on the agency of women in conveying and constructing ritual makes this work a rare find among studies of its kind. Performance and Transformation is interdisciplinary, engrossing, and indispensable for students of the Middle Ages.