The Cursed Carolers in Context explores the interplay between the forms and contexts in which the tale of the cursed carolers circulated and the meanings it had for medieval and early modern authors and audiences. The story of the cursed carolers has circulated in Europe since the eleventh century. In this story, a group of people in a village in Saxony skip Christmas mass to perform a circle dance in the cemetery, only to be cursed and forced to keep dancing for a whole year. By approaching the story in specific historical contexts, this book shows how the story of the cursed carolers became a space in which medieval readers, writers, and listeners could debate the meaning and significance of a surprising variety of questions, including ecclesiastical authority, gender roles, pastoral responsibility, and even the conduct of crusades. This consideration of the interplay between text and context sheds new light on how and why the story of the dancers achieved such popularity in the Middle Ages, and how its meanings developed and changed throughout the period. This book will appeal to scholars and students of medieval European history, literature, and dance, as well as those interested in cultural history.
Table of Contents
The tale of the Kölbigk dancers: transmissions, translations, and themes
LYNNETH MILLER RENBERG AND BRADLEY PHILLIS
Part 1. Setting the stage
1. Kinesic analysis: a theoretical approach to reading bodily movement in literature
2. Prefacing the marvelous: dance in popular medieval French and English literature
CLINT MORRISON, JR. AND SARAH B. RUDE
Part 2. Carolers and contexts
3. The cursed carolers as crusaders in twelfth-century Flanders
4. “Desturné en us de secularité”?: authority and narrative framing in the cursed dancers episode of the Manuel des Péchés
KRISTA A. MURCHISON
5. Priests, cursed carolers, and pastoral care in Handlyng Synne , Of Shrifte and Penance , and Instructions to His Son
LYNNETH MILLER RENBERG
6. The tale of the Kölbigk dancers in Goscelin’s Legend of St. Edith and the Wilton Chronicle
7. The cursed carolers in medieval and early modern Scandinavia
SHAUN F. D. HUGHES
Part 3. Dancing on
8. Dancing out the pest: afterlives of medieval dance plague narratives in nineteenth-century Münchner Schäfflertanz discourse
Epilogue: dancing the spaces between
Lynneth Miller Renberg is Assistant Professor of History at Anderson University, USA.
Bradley Phillis is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Southern Mississippi, USA.