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Preaching As Playwriting: A Semi-Dramatic Sermon Of The Fifteenth Century

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Chapter Summary

Written at the end of the thirteenth century, Jacopone da Todi's lauda, "Donna del Paradiso" was one of the most beloved vernacular poems of the later medieval period. What perhaps is less well-known is that the text of the "Donna del Paradiso," along with other vernacular laude, often became the centerpiece for sacred oratory of the friars of the fifteenth century, the subject of this chapter. The study of medieval sermons has a long and distinguished history, one which only recently has turned to consider preaching as performance, with due attention to the exchange between preacher and audience. Then, as now, the sermon was a ritualized event in which the preacher tried to soft en hardened hearts or move people to action. Focusing on a semi-dramatic sermon of Roberto Caracciolo (d. 1495), a leading light of Franciscan Observant Reform movement, the chapter analyzes the text in its performative context.

Keywords: Donna del Paradiso; fifteenth century; Franciscan Observant Reform movement; preaching; Roberto Caracciolo; semi-dramatic sermon



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