Sex on the stage (and in the library) of an early medieval convent: Hrotsvit of Gandersheim - A tenth-century convent playwright's successful competition against the Roman poet terence

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Early medieval drama (in Latin) surprisingly focused very much on the theme of sexuality, as best illustrated by Hrotsvit of Gandersheim (10th century). She was most eager to compete with the Roman dramatist Terence and to create new Christian plays that were, on the one hand, basically determined by the theatrical strategies of Terence, and yet followed, on the other, early medieval Christian values as developed by the Church Fathers and desert hermits. Although Hrotsvit pursued strongly religious values throughout her works, she also revealed a keen interest in theatricality per se, irrespective of the religious paradigm characteristic of the Middle Ages. At the same time this tenth-century convent author demonstrated an incredible skill in exploring and utilizing a wide range of sexual themes in her plays and religious narratives. She consistently demonstrated a unique ability in creating theatrical works that aimed both for the basic entertainment of a convent audience and also for a fundamental clerical education that did not ignore the world of sexuality as a dangerous yet unavoidable aspect of human existence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-200
Number of pages34
JournalOrbis Litterarum
Volume65
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2010

Keywords

  • Early medieval drama
  • Hrotsvit of Gandersheim
  • Monastic literature
  • Reception of classical literature
  • Sexuality
  • Women's literature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Sex on the stage (and in the library) of an early medieval convent: Hrotsvit of Gandersheim - A tenth-century convent playwright's successful competition against the Roman poet terence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this