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.
- Early medieval drama
- Hrotsvit of Gandersheim
- Monastic literature
- Reception of classical literature
- Women's literature
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Literature and Literary Theory