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"A Strange Deformacion": from Experience to Authority in the Middle English Mystery Plays

Friday, January 31, 2020
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Helen Cushman, UNC Chapel Hill
Medieval and Renaissance Studies / English Lecture

This talk is taken from a larger project on how late medieval popular drama became a central battleground for staging contemporary debates about the nature of knowledge and the politics of knowledge production. The lecture shows how the history for the development of the "Christ and the Doctors" pageant from the Middle English mystery cycle plays--a play about the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple--serves as an especially rich example of the pageant's serious investment in the politics of knowledge, its production, dissemination, and regulation. In particular, the play demonstrates an intense attention to the precise nature of the relationship between physical material experience and written authority.