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Ceremonial Culture in Pre-Modern Europe

Ceremonial Culture in Pre-Modern Europe

Edited by Nicholas Howe

“In this volume, Nicholas Howe has brought together original and important essays focusing on medieval and early modern processions in Western Europe. The contributors share numerous insights that will interest scholars in anthropology, history of religion, performance history, social history, medieval and Early Modern studies, and art history.” —Diane Wolfthal, Arizona State University

“The perceptively analyzed case studies in this volume constitute a reader’s guide on how to interpret ritual and other ephemeral forms of celebration, as well their concrete manifestation in the visual arts.” —Patricia Fortini Brown, Princeton University

“A ground-breaking collection of compelling and wonderfully cohesive essays, which sets the standard for future study of ceremonial culture. Nicholas Howe and his collaborators are to be congratulated for having revealed so many of the ways in which this operated as a force for both continuity and change in pre-modern Europe.” —Alastair Minnis, Yale University

The essayists in this volume identify and recover the excitement and dynamism that characterized ceremonial culture in pre-modern Europe. Each turns to key issues: the relation between public and private space, the development of fully-realized dramas and rituals from earlier forms, and the semiotic code that ceremonies manifested to their audiences. Their subjects include the Adventus procession at Chartres; Epiphany and Palm Sunday rituals in medieval Moscow; the staged entry of the future Emperor Charles V into Bruges in 1515; and ceremonies in Italian Renaissance cities interpreted through the lens of Renaissance optical theory. What emerges from each essay is a deeper understanding that any ceremony is, finally, an attempt to close the divide between abstract and literal, ideal and actual.

Contributors: Nicholas Howe, Margot Fassler, Michael S. Flier, Gordon Kipling, Edward Muir.

ISBN: 978-0-268-03075-9
168 pages
Publication Year: 2007

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Nicholas Howe (1953–2006) was professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author and editor of several books, including Migration and Mythmaking in Anglo-Saxon England, also published by the University of Notre Dame Press.

“In this volume, Nicholas Howe has assembled a valuable collection of essays, each one of which contributes to our understanding of ceremonial culture. . . . Every one of these essays offers original perspectives on ceremonies in general—how they might have worked; what their purposes were; how they might effect change as well as preserve and create traditions . . . . Scholars of religious, social and art history, as well as of ceremony, in the medieval and early modern periods, will read this volume with great profit.” — English Historical Review

“These four essays, introduced by the late Nicholas Howe, treat the court ceremony surrounding entries and the role of visual culture in shaping sacred and civic processions. The book is well illustrated, befitting a work that attempts to close the gap between the ephemeral, abstract world of ceremony and the actual, literal world of the event itself. All contributions explore what it meant to be a spectator to such processions, thereby expanding the previous scope of scholarly studies.” — Renaissance Quarterly

“This impressive collection of essays brilliantly illuminates aspects of ceremonial culture in early modern Europe. The book will serve a broad circle of scholars in the fields of medieval and early modern cultural studies, art history and iconography, drama and performance history, social history, and the history of religion." — The Sixteenth Century Journal

“This collection, along with Howe’s introduction, marks an important contribution to studies in the interactions among Christian religion, socio-political history, and the performance arts in pre-modern Europe.” — Religion and the Arts

“. . . This volume has much to contribute to folklore studies for its insights into performative and visual transmission of communal beliefs.” — Western Folklore

“In many ways these essays work well together and demonstrate some of the new understandings of premodern use and reception of ceremony and ritual. . . This erudite and comparative collection of scholarship on ritual and ceremony in premodern Europe . . .does offer interesting insights to scholars who work on this subject.” — Journal of World History

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P03291

Savage Economy

The Returns of Middle English Romance

Walter Wadiak

P03194

Civic Cycles

Artisan Drama and Identity in Premodern England

Nicole R. Rice and Margaret Aziza Pappano

P03054

Law, Rulership, and Rhetoric

Selected Essays of Robert L. Benson

Robert L. Benson
Edited by Loren J. Weber in collaboration with Giles Constable and Richard H. Rouse
Foreword by Horst Fuhrmann

Ceremonial Culture in Pre-Modern Europe


Edited by Nicholas Howe

 Ceremonial Culture in Pre-Modern Europe
Paper Edition

“In this volume, Nicholas Howe has brought together original and important essays focusing on medieval and early modern processions in Western Europe. The contributors share numerous insights that will interest scholars in anthropology, history of religion, performance history, social history, medieval and Early Modern studies, and art history.” —Diane Wolfthal, Arizona State University

“The perceptively analyzed case studies in this volume constitute a reader’s guide on how to interpret ritual and other ephemeral forms of celebration, as well their concrete manifestation in the visual arts.” —Patricia Fortini Brown, Princeton University

“A ground-breaking collection of compelling and wonderfully cohesive essays, which sets the standard for future study of ceremonial culture. Nicholas Howe and his collaborators are to be congratulated for having revealed so many of the ways in which this operated as a force for both continuity and change in pre-modern Europe.” —Alastair Minnis, Yale University

The essayists in this volume identify and recover the excitement and dynamism that characterized ceremonial culture in pre-modern Europe. Each turns to key issues: the relation between public and private space, the development of fully-realized dramas and rituals from earlier forms, and the semiotic code that ceremonies manifested to their audiences. Their subjects include the Adventus procession at Chartres; Epiphany and Palm Sunday rituals in medieval Moscow; the staged entry of the future Emperor Charles V into Bruges in 1515; and ceremonies in Italian Renaissance cities interpreted through the lens of Renaissance optical theory. What emerges from each essay is a deeper understanding that any ceremony is, finally, an attempt to close the divide between abstract and literal, ideal and actual.

Contributors: Nicholas Howe, Margot Fassler, Michael S. Flier, Gordon Kipling, Edward Muir.

ISBN: 978-0-268-03075-9

168 pages

“In this volume, Nicholas Howe has assembled a valuable collection of essays, each one of which contributes to our understanding of ceremonial culture. . . . Every one of these essays offers original perspectives on ceremonies in general—how they might have worked; what their purposes were; how they might effect change as well as preserve and create traditions . . . . Scholars of religious, social and art history, as well as of ceremony, in the medieval and early modern periods, will read this volume with great profit.” — English Historical Review

“These four essays, introduced by the late Nicholas Howe, treat the court ceremony surrounding entries and the role of visual culture in shaping sacred and civic processions. The book is well illustrated, befitting a work that attempts to close the gap between the ephemeral, abstract world of ceremony and the actual, literal world of the event itself. All contributions explore what it meant to be a spectator to such processions, thereby expanding the previous scope of scholarly studies.” — Renaissance Quarterly

“This impressive collection of essays brilliantly illuminates aspects of ceremonial culture in early modern Europe. The book will serve a broad circle of scholars in the fields of medieval and early modern cultural studies, art history and iconography, drama and performance history, social history, and the history of religion." — The Sixteenth Century Journal

“This collection, along with Howe’s introduction, marks an important contribution to studies in the interactions among Christian religion, socio-political history, and the performance arts in pre-modern Europe.” — Religion and the Arts

“. . . This volume has much to contribute to folklore studies for its insights into performative and visual transmission of communal beliefs.” — Western Folklore

“In many ways these essays work well together and demonstrate some of the new understandings of premodern use and reception of ceremony and ritual. . . This erudite and comparative collection of scholarship on ritual and ceremony in premodern Europe . . .does offer interesting insights to scholars who work on this subject.” — Journal of World History