Performing the Lancelot Compilation? A closer look at performability and performer-friendliness of the Lancelot Compilation, verses 35737 to 36947
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Since the 1980’s there has been an at times heated debate on the intended function and the intended use of manuscripts. Within the field of Middle Dutch literature this debate is reflected in the discussion on the intended function and the intended use of the Lancelot Compilation, a vast collection of both translated and indigenous Middle Dutch Arthurian literature dating from the first quarter of the 14th century. Was the compilation meant to be read privately, scholars wondered, or rather to be performed, read aloud to a listening audience? While some scholars were convinced, due to for instance manuscript lay-out and intricate structure of the verses of the compilation, that the codex had been primarily intended for individual reading, other scholars firmly believed performance supporting devices could be found in the manuscript. In this thesis, I will try to provide some new insights by following the paradigm of performance. In the first part of this thesis, I will set out to find answers to questions such as: what would a medieval performance text have needed? And were these requirements met by the Lancelot Compilation? In the second part of the thesis I will zoom in on what may very well be the most important as well as the most complicated aspect of performance: the performance of direct discourse.