The Performance of Victorian Medievalism
The medieval performance structure that lay at the heart of the nineteenth-century embrace of medievalism was the tournament, and perhaps the key factor in the ease with which Victorians played at and played with the medieval tournament was the essentially performative and doubled nature of the original event. Louise Fradenburg’s account in City, Marriage, Tournament: Arts of Rule in Late Medieval Scotland1 of the way in which monarchs used the performance space of the tournament field variously for public entertainment, personal recreation, military training, political maneuvering, diplomatic dialogue, and settling serious disputes makes clear that role play and the taking on of symbolic and idealized personae were key elements in the construction of tournaments.2 Nineteenth-century authors, particularly Sir Walter Scott, understood and utilized this aspect of tournaments in shaping their narratives, and it was recognized and embraced by nineteenth-century participants in recreations.
KeywordsMilitary Training Ring Role Entertainment Industry Minor Theater General Combat
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