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April 2005

Performing Medieval Narrative Today: A Video Showcase
Gawain, Gawain, Gone! Modern performances of snippets of medieval narrative.
Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12

This site features a database of video clips of contemporary performance of medieval narrative. Its purpose is “to see how medieval stories can be brought to life in performance for modern audiences, and how performance can be used to teach medieval literature in the classroom.”
The site can be searched by performance or original works as well as subtopics under each. First-time visitors will want to begin by clicking on the link “List all search criteria” to see all the categories, a listing of the clips, musical instruments, performance setting, language, etc. Included is a handy help file for learning to get the most from your searches. Video clips can be viewed in high or low quality (depending on connection speed) and QuickTime 6 is required.

This project was put together by the French department of New York University and the Bobst Library with support from an anonymous donor. The site focuses entirely on the performance narratives and provides a resource for scholars, teachers and students. Medieval narratives were intended to be performed and this site seeks to bring them to life through video performances and therefore improve the teaching of medieval literature. The videos feature a variety of actors, storytellers, singers, musicians, mimes, puppeteers, and dancers, among them professionals, teachers, and students performing scenes from a range of medieval narrative genres, including epics, romances, lais, tales, fabliaux, and others. Clicking on the “Site Contents” link brings up a listing of all clips with a short description. A full catalog entry including background on the performance, information about the work and genre and the length of the clip, is available by clicking on the title.


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