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Complicity with the Vice: Spectatorship of Crime in Late Medieval and Early Modern English Drama

Complicity with the Vice: Spectatorship of Crime in Late Medieval and Early Modern English Drama

Paper by Jill Ingram

Given at Law and Disorder: Fools, Outlaws, and Justice in the Middle Ages and Renaissance – CMRS Symposium, on April 24, 2021

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Excerpt: My paper today draws upon research into money-gathering, as an early form of funding performances at medieval festive events such as church ales, summer fairs and Christmas plays. I was seeing that the money-gatherers were often vice characters or thieves such as Robin Hood and I found versions of those characters in later early modern plays on the public stages in London. So my talk will explore the persistence and acceptance of the criminal or the type of crime and theorize why and how audiences are drawn into criminal activities that such characters perform on the stage.

Jill Ingram is an Associate Professor at Ohio State University and the author of Festive Enterprise: The Business of Drama in Medieval and Renaissance England.

Other papers from the CMRS Symposium: Law and Disorder: Fools, Outlaws, and Justice in the Middle Ages and Renaissance:

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“A Brief History of the American Outlaw Comic”, by Eric Shouse (in video above follow Jill Ingram’s paper)

“Foolish Men and Holy Women: The Folly of Deluded Power,” by Max Harris

“Laughter as Power: One Small Story of Loss and Recovery,” by Piotr Gorecki

“The Criminalization of Disobedience in Counter-Reformation Germany,” by William Bradford Smith

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