The Juggler of Notre Dame and the Medievalizing of Modernity: Volume 4: Picture That: Making a Show of the Jongleur - cover image


Jan M. Ziolkowski

Published On





  • English

Print Length

520 pages (viii + 512)


Paperback178 x 36 x 254 mm(7" x 1.41" x 10")
Hardback178 x 40 x 254 mm(7" x 1.56" x 10")


Paperback2656g (93.69oz)
Hardback3155g (111.29oz)



OCLC Number





  • ACK
  • JFHF
  • D
  • AMX
  • AVGC


  • LIT022000
  • LIT011000
  • LIT025040
  • ARC005060
  • ART035000


  • PQ1534.T5


  • Middle Ages
  • reception studies
  • Modernity
  • medieval studies
  • medievalism
  • philology
  • literary history
  • art history
  • folklore
  • performance studies
  • classical music
  • Jules Massenet
  • Mary Garden
  • Le jongleur de Notre Dame
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The Juggler of Notre Dame and the Medievalizing of Modernity

Volume 4: Picture That: Making a Show of the Jongleur

This ambitious and vivid study in six volumes explores the journey of a single, electrifying story, from its first incarnation in a medieval French poem through its prolific rebirth in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Juggler of Notre Dame tells how an entertainer abandons the world to join a monastery, but is suspected of blasphemy after dancing his devotion before a statue of the Madonna in the crypt; he is saved when the statue, delighted by his skill, miraculously comes to life.
Jan Ziolkowski tracks the poem from its medieval roots to its rediscovery in late nineteenth-century Paris, before its translation into English in Britain and the United States. The visual influence of the tale on Gothic revivalism and vice versa in America is carefully documented with lavish and inventive illustrations, and Ziolkowski concludes with an examination of the explosion of interest in The Juggler of Notre Dame in the twentieth century and its place in mass culture today. Volume 4 examines the famous Le jongleur de Notre Dame by the French composer Jules Massenet, which took Europe by storm after premiering in 1902 and then crossed the Atlantic to the impresario Oscar Hammerstein and the diva Mary Garden, who gave the opera new legs as a female juggler.
Presented with great clarity and simplicity, Ziolkowski's work is accessible to the general reader, while its many new discoveries will be valuable to academics in such fields and disciplines as medieval studies, medievalism, philology, literary history, art history, folklore, performance studies, and reception studies.


A lifetime’s knowledge has been poured into these pages with passion and dedication, and the reader feels, and shares, the author’s enthusiasm along the Juggler’s journey from the Middle Ages to the present. From medieval French manuscripts we follow the tale through early modern religious literature, post-Romantic editorial endeavours, anthologies of national literature and children’s fiction, to modern adaptations in ballet, opera, and the visual arts. Such wide-ranging enterprise is matched by a fluent, witty narrative which succeeds in making complex terminology and concepts accessible to non-specialist readers. As such, the work is a major achievement.

Prof. Barbara Ravelhofer

Durham University


By mapping out a peculiar kind of medieval trajectory, Ziolkowski provokes us to think about productive meanders that might be carried out in our own fields of interest. In that sense the book is not only an encyclopedic anatomy of the medieval in all its richness but a nursery of forms with the power to give life to any number of parallel endeavors. […] His book is continually awakening to new intriguing possibilities.

James H. S. McGregor, University of Georgia, Emeritus

"Jan M. Ziolkowski, The Juggler of Notre Dame and the Medievalizing of Modernity". Speculum (0038-7134), vol. 95, no. 2, 2020. doi:10.1086/708200

Full Review

Table of Contents

Note to the Reader
1. The Composer

The Jongleur in the Circle of Richard Wagner


The Medievalesque Oeuvre of Jules Massenet

The Tall Tale of the Libretto

The Middle Ages of the Opera

Sage Wisdom

Juggling Secular and Ecclesiastical

The Jongleur of Monte Carlo

Jean, Bénédictine, and Selling Gothic

The Musician of Women

The All-Male Cast

2. The Diva

Mary Garden Takes America

Oscar Hammerstein I

Making a Travesti of Massenet’s Tenor

Selling the Jongleur

Mary Garden Dances the Role

The Role of Dance

Sexless, Sexy… and What Sex?

The Jongleur Goes to Notre Dame

The College Woman as Jongleur: Skirting the Issue

From Opera to Vaudeville

3. Images of the Virgin

The Power of Madonnas in the Round

Madonnas in Majesty

Animated Images

Miracles of Madonnas

4. The Crypt

Grottoes and Crypts

Madonnas in Crypts

Cistercian Crypts

Gothic Crypts

5. Enlightening the Virgin

The Incandescent Virgin

Dressing Madonnas: What Are You Wearing?

Carrying a Torch for Mary

Lighting Effects: Lights, Camera, Action!

Voyeurism and Performance Art

6. Cloistering the USA: Everybody Must Get Stones

Stony Silence

Collecting Clusters of Cloisters

A Gothic Room of Her Own: Vanderbilt and Gardner

Raymond Pitcairn and the "New Church”

The Hearst Castle

The Last Hurrah

7. The Great War and Its Aftermath

Ruining Europe

Reims: Martyr City and Cathedral

Rebuilding Europe in America

German Expressionism

French Piety

Painting the Juggler

American Gothic


Notes to Chapter 1

Notes to Chapter 2

Notes to Chapter 3

Notes to Chapter 4

Notes to Chapter 5

Notes to Chapter 6

Notes to Chapter 7



Referenced Works

List of Illustrations



Jan M. Ziolkowski

Arthur Kingsley Porter Professor of Medieval Latin at Harvard University