Death by drama and other medieval urban legends /

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Main Author: Enders, Jody, 1955-
Format: Book
Language:English
Published:Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2002.
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Review by Choice Review

Taking as her theme Jan Harold Brunvand's declaration "Part of every legend is true," Enders (French, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara) plunges into the complicated labyrinth of medieval French drama to determine "What was said, what was pretend, and what was pretense." Her tentative conclusion is that the three often cannot be distinguished either in drama or in modern life. Was there really a "snuff" drama of Judith killing Holophernes presented to Philip II when he visited Tournai in 1549? Did actors playing the role of Despair later actually fall into despair and commit suicide? Did actors who played the devil or devils on the stage actually sell their souls to the devil and become devils on earth? Enders looks at these questions and at a host of other examples drawn from drama, television, and contemporary media as she attempts to distinguish said/pretend/pretense. Though extensive, annotations are at the end of the book, instead of at page bottom where they belong; bibliography and index are wonderfully detailed. An introduction provides a helpful summary of what follows, and a prologue details the dilemmas--both scholarly and absurd, serious and amusing--Enders faced in undertaking her investigation. This is a book not to be missed. ^BSumming Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. L. L. Bronson emeritus, Central Michigan University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

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