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Jacques Milet's Destruction de Troie la Grant: Reassessing French Theatre in the Late Medieval Period

Durham III, Lofton Leon (2009) Jacques Milet's Destruction de Troie la Grant: Reassessing French Theatre in the Late Medieval Period. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Jacques Milet's nearly 30,000-line French mystery play, Istoire de la Destruction de Troie la Grant [Story of the Destruction of Troy the Great], written in 1450, has been marginalized by theatre historians despite its 13 manuscripts (some with extensive illustrations) and 13 print editions dating until the mid-sixteenth century. As a play that treated its non-religious subject seriously, Destruction de Troie neither fits precisely with the spectacular religious cycles, nor with late medieval moralities and comedies, all genres which grew in popularity during the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries.However, Destruction de Troie's subject, the "matter of Troy," situates the play in the mainstream of the fictional universes appropriated by a range of groups--including sovereigns and their courts, civic guilds, and artists and writers of all varieties--for social and political purposes. And, the long list of surviving copies demonstrates how effectively the play captured the spirit of its time. Consequently, this dissertation uses Destruction de Troie as a prism through which to view the connections among political, economic, and social events, performance varieties and practices, and circulating literary and ideological concepts. Although much of direct evidence for performance remains inconclusive, the strength of the correspondence between the performance forms, tastes, and customs near the places where Destruction de Troie originated and circulated, and the traces of those practices in the text and images of various extant copies, supports the idea that the play was much more representative of the broader performance and literary cultures dominant at the time. The play's particular attention to political matters as demonstrated in its Épître épilogative [Letter of Epilogue], as well as the ideological orientation of the play's Prologue, reinforce the important relationship of performance to power. Viewed from this vantage point, a more complete picture of the culture emerges than that seen from the perspective of a few spectacular Passion-play performances and late medieval comedies. By establishing relationships in, around, and through Milet's dramatization, this dissertation argues that Destruction de Troie, far from being an exception, is in fact emblematic of trends in performance and culture in late medieval France.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Durham III, Lofton
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairFavorini, Attiliobucfav@pitt.eduBUCFAV
Committee MemberMcConachie, Brucebamcco@pitt.eduBAMCCO
Committee MemberGeorge, Kathleengeorgeke@pitt.eduGEORGEKE
Committee MemberBlumenfeld-Kosinski,
Date: 9 June 2009
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 22 April 2009
Approval Date: 9 June 2009
Submission Date: 21 April 2009
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Theater Arts
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Anjou; Burgundy; codex; Grands Rhetoriqueurs; historiography; ideological aspects; literary aspects; manuscript; mirror of princes; mouvance; Orleans; pictorial evidence; print; Provence; Savoy; theatre-state; verse forms
Other ID:, etd-04212009-091714
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:40
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:41


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