Over a half-century ago, the Dutch cultural historian Johan Huizinga insisted upon the importance of the festival as the ‘supreme expression’ of late medieval culture, ‘the highest mode of collective enjoyment and an assertion of solidarity’. This book follows that trail, however gingerly. It attempts to describe for the first time the ritual purposes, symbolic vocabulary, and quasi-dramatic form of one late medieval courtly festival: the royal entry. As Roy Strong points out, there exists no ‘full-length study of the royal entry in the middle ages’. This book seeks to remedy that deficiency. Although the royal entry as a formal ceremony can probably be traced as an unbroken tradition from late classical times directly into the Renaissance, this book begins where the royal entry adopts pageantry as its essential medium in the late fourteenth century.
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