Prof. Helen Solterer

Enrolling Medieval Culture. Performance, Politics, Secularism: A Franco-American History, 1933-1945

4:00 pm–5:00 pm
Location: VC, Alumni Hall
Description: This talk explores the surprising function of medieval scripts and dramatis personae for the generations who endured two World Wars, and internecine conflict in Europe. In so doing, it reopens and extends a chapter in cultural history. Reviving the Middle Ages in the modern world was an aesthetic project that we recognize for its nostalgia – a value that fed the Far Right. But less recognized is the part it played in political programs on the Left, its part in debates over secular life for Christians and Jews alike. How did re-enacting mystery plays, farce, and satirical sketch enter into the struggles over democratic ideals of a people free and equal, of community and identity? To what effect?

Sponsored by the Centre for Medieval Studies, Victoria College, the Centre for Comparative Literature, the UC Drama Program, the Graduate Centre for the Study of Drama & the Department of French.