The Juggler of Notre Dame and the Medievalizing of Modernity: Volume 6: War and Peace, Sex and Violence - cover image


Jan M. Ziolkowski

Published On





  • English

Print Length

332 pages (vi + 326)


Paperback178 x 23 x 254 mm(7" x 0.9" x 10")
Hardback178 x 27 x 254 mm(7" x 1.06" x 10")


Paperback1714g (60.46oz)
Hardback2197g (77.50oz)



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
  • Le jongleur de Notre Dame

The Juggler of Notre Dame and the Medievalizing of Modernity

Volume 6: War and Peace, Sex and Violence

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. In this concluding volume, Ziolkowski explores the popularity of The Juggler of Notre Dame from the 1930s through the Second World War, especially in the Allied Resistance. Its popularity in the United States was subsequently maintained by figures as diverse as Tony Curtis and W. H. Auden, and although recently the story and medievalism have lost ground, the future of both holds promise.
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

Additional Resources

[book]Reading the Juggler of Notre Dame: Medieval Miracles and Modern Remakings

In this two-part anthology, Jan M. Ziolkowski builds on themes uncovered in his earlier The Juggler of Notre Dame and the Medievalizing of Modernity. Here he focuses particularly on the performing arts.

[audio]CBS News Winter Holiday Special 2022 - Hour 3

Jan Ziolkowski, Arthur Kingsley Porter Professor of Medieval Latin at Harvard University, joins the program to discuss the origins behind the story, "The Juggler of Notre Dame", which has inspired other media in the centuries since it was published, like the holiday classic, "Little Drummer Boy".


1. Juggler Allies

(pp. 5–38)
  • Jan M. Ziolkowski
  • Jan M. Ziolkowski
  • Jan M. Ziolkowski


(pp. 209–216)
  • Jan M. Ziolkowski


(pp. 217–284)
  • Jan M. Ziolkowski


Jan M. Ziolkowski

Arthur Kingsley Porter Professor of Medieval Latin at Harvard University