The Middle Ages after the Middle Ages. Medievalism in the Study of European Drama and Theatre History

The Middle Ages after the Middle Ages. Medievalism in the Study of European Drama and Theatre History

Dabrówka, Andrzej (Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw)

K. Czibula (ed.), Színházvilág – Világszínház, Ráció Kiadó: Budapest 2008, pp. 23-37


Specialization in the study of literary history has some negative consequences. Research institutes are mostly divided into departments according to literary periods. At the average institute there will always be a division or a working group for old, medieval, renaissance, early modern, and modern literature. This specialization depends on periodization. Fortunately, some of the problems caused by literary periods suggest their solution. We have different times for the literary Middle Ages in the main cultural areas of Europe. But if we were to write a European literary history by periods, the discrepancies among European literatures would force us to compile it quite differently from the way which is common for national literatures. The medieval heritage created earlier in older literatures will show up as something new in languages of “younger Europe.” Another reason to be cautious with respect to the time of “medieval” experience is phenomena which cannot undergo any periodization, like folklore or some smaller and only later emerging literatures like Frisian, Lithuanian, or Yiddish.


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