Mystery Plays and Dancing Space

TLS July 24, 2015

from Gerard Kilroy's review of Mortal Thoughts: Religion, secularity and identity in Shakespeare and early modern culture by Brian Cummings; The Bible in Shakespeare by Hannibal Hamlin; and A Will to Believe: Shakespeare and religion by David Scott Kastan:

Cummings explore the "condition of soliloquy" in the Confessions - "et cum ipso me solo coram te" (with myself all alone in front of you) - in one of the most rewarding chapters in the book, "Soliloquy and Secularization". Augustine is seen as the source both of the word "soliloquy" and of the genre. The soliloquy is both a meditation and a dialogue between an interior self that is true, and an interior self that is mutable and transitory. Long before Hamlet's most famous of soliloquies, Cummings finds Augustine in De libero arbitrio, meditating on not being: "It is not because I would rather be unhappy than not be at all ... , that I am unwilling to die, but for fear that after death I may be still more unhappy".  
In "one of Shakespeare's favorite books", Arthur Golding's translation of Calvin's Sermons upon the Booke of Job (1574), humanity is described as "sullyed and full of all fylthe", and Golding uses the world "solydnesse [i.e. sulliedness] in his translation of the sermons in Calvin's Psalmes of David (1571). Orally and in print the two words were "sometimes indistinguishable", making them ripe for punning.  
Hamlin (following Jones) notes that the greeting "All hail" in Macbeth and several plays including Julius Caesar, echoes Judas's kiss in the York Cycle [of mystery plays].... Hamlin has now discovered that this greeting became so "conventional" that the phrase "All haile maister" was attributed to Judas in many sermons between 1571 and 1599. While the received opinion had been that the last recorded performance of a Mystery Play was in Coventry in 1579, recent work has shown that they continued in small towns, and (as Phebe Jensen has shown) in Catholic country hourses like Gowlthwaite Hall, "well into the seventeenth century".


from Kapka Kassabova's review of Dancing Tango: Passionate encounters in a globalizing world by Kathy Davis:

One of Davis's conclusions is that the milonga is a rare space in our globalized and yes, unequal world, where men and women - especially heterosexual men and women - can safely perform gender roles, explore desires that in the rest of their lives have become outdated, and even fall in love - for fifteen minutes. In that sense tango remains subversive, as it was always meant to be. Should a feminist dance tango? The overwhelming evidence here shows us one thing: in tango, there is no such thing  as "should".


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