496 pages | 6 x 9
Paper 2013 | ISBN 9780812222517 | $32.50s | Outside the Americas £25.99
Ebook editions are available from selected online vendors
A volume in the Middle Ages Series
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"Scurrilous, sexy, stupid, satirical, scatological, side-splitting, and probably something else beginning with 's,' Jody Enders's translation of twelve French farces is a real discovery that goes a long way to readjusting our perception of the Middle Ages. Enders is a great champion of comedy at its most vulgar and hilarious. She points out that however silly or banal these farces may appear to us, they nonetheless confront the real controversies of their day over the law, politics, religion, social order, or the battle of the sexes. Thoroughly grounded in her academic approach to the subject, Enders nevertheless writes with liveliness and humor and wit. She is unafraid to reference modern comedy in her translations and insists on the primacy of performance in assessing these comedies from half a millennium ago."—Terry JonesWas there more to medieval and Renaissance comedy than Chaucer and Shakespeare? Bien sûr. For a real taste of saucy early European humor, one must cross the Channel to France. There, in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, the sophisticated met the scatological in popular performances presented by roving troupes in public squares that skewered sex, politics, and religion. For centuries, the scripts for these outrageous, anonymously written shows were available only in French editions gathered from scattered print and manuscript sources. Now prize-winning theater historian Jody Enders brings twelve of the funniest of these farces to contemporary English-speaking audiences in "The Farce of the Fart" and Other Ribaldries. Enders's translation captures the full richness of the colorful characters, irreverent humor, and over-the-top plotlines, all in a refreshingly uncensored American vernacular.
Those who have never heard the one about the Cobbler, the Monk, the Wife, and the Gatekeeper should prepare to be shocked and entertained. "The Farce of the Fart" and Other Ribaldries is populated by hilarious characters high and low. For medievalists, theater practitioners, and classic comedy lovers alike, Enders provides a wealth of information about the plays and their history. Helpful details abound for each play about plot, character development, sets, staging, costumes, and props. This performance-friendly collection offers in-depth guidance to actors, directors, dramaturges, teachers, and their students.
"The Farce of the Fart" and Other Ribaldries puts fifteenth-century French farce in its rightful place alongside Chaucer, Shakespeare, commedia dell'arte, and Molière—not to mention Monty Python. Vive la Farce!
Jody Enders is Professor of French and Theater at the University of California, Santa Barbara and the author of many books, including Murder by Accident: Medieval Theater, Modern Media, Critical Intentions.