A Funny Kind of Devotion? Laughter in the Biblical Drama of Late Medieval Towns and Cities (Public talk, 12th May)

Medieval flagellants

The flagellants at Doornik in 1349, via Wikimedia Commons

Monty Python famously presented the ‘dark ages’ in an ironic way, and funnily enough medieval life was not the dour experience it is commonly made out to be. Jamie Beckett will explore the humour and laughter of medieval festivals and religious rituals, at this free talk on Thursday 12th May at 14.00, in Durham Cathedral, Chapel of the Nine Altars.

When people think of medieval Christianity they often summon up visions of mumbling monks and self-flagellating martyrs, opulence and grandeur paired up with austerity and strict morality. But where was the laughter? Where were the jokes? (And were they funny?) In this talk we’ll look at some intriguing evidence of popular drama from towns and cities in the North East, giving us a glimpse of a robust performance culture where humour and laughter could be entirely bound up with devotion.

This talk is attached to the exhibition Plays, Processions, and Parchment: Discovering Festive Traditions in the North East, which runs from 19th April to 22nd May in Durham Cathedral, Chapel of the Nine Altars.


What do you think? Share your thoughts below.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s