The Cursed Carolers in Context  book cover
1st Edition

The Cursed Carolers in Context

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after March 22, 2021
ISBN 9780367900571
March 22, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
224 Pages

SAVE ~ $32.00
was $160.00
USD $128.00

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

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


Lynneth Miller Renberg and Bradley Phillis

Part 1: Setting the Stage

1. Kinesic Analysis: A Theoretical Approach to Reading Bodily Movement in Literature

Rebecca Straple-Sovers

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

Bradley Phillis

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

Laura Clark

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

Tamara Hauser

Epilogue: Dancing the Spaces Between

Candice Salyers

View More



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.