*After publishing his 6-volume 'The Juggler of Notre Dame and the Medievalizing of Modernity' —each volume of which feels like a gift—Jan Ziolkowski has more to share on this topic. This seventh gift offers the source texts in translation that informed his magnum opus. Gathered in one place, they appear in a usable form, ready to be plucked by students and scholars. Besides being of value in relation to the six already-published volumes, this volume will be of particular value to those interested in medieval dance, folklore, and iconography. Students will be able to mine these sources for essays about the instability of gender; the fluid boundaries between knights, clerics, and peasants; about archetypes in transcultural and transhistorical literature; about the give and take between literature and folklore. The translations are heavily and satisfyingly annotated and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the annotations/footnotes themselves offer a history of medieval thought. *
Prof. Kathryn Rudy
University of St Andrews
In his six-volume The Juggler of Notre Dame and the Medievalizing of Modernity (2018), Jan Ziolkowski offered the community of medievalists and numerous other readers the most comprehensive reception history of any medieval text ever produced. Geared towards a mixed audience of specialists and non-specialists alike in style, tone, and scholarly apparatuses, they offer a uniquely rich resource on modern European and world medievalisms in high and popular culture, scholarship, the arts, music, and media. The free access to Ziolkowski’s academic research via Open Book Publishers, an independent open access publisher for the humanities and social sciences, makes his publication an enviable example of how medievalists might reach audiences beyond academe [...] Jan Ziolkowski’s volume commands the admiration and gratitude of anyone who has ever even dabbled in reception history. Revealing first the first version and analogues of the premodern textual history, then the successful survival of the thirteenth-century miracle of the Virgin in the downright Darwinian competition among freshly discovered medieval literature in the late nineteenth and twentieth century, is a major feat of archival research, translation, and cultural contextualization. Reading the Juggler of Notre Dame is also an eloquent caveat for those who might erroneously believe that medievalisms in the modern world are all malevolent, radical abuses of the medieval past for postmedieval sexist, racist, and white supremacist purposes. The path of the juggler narrative related by this volume invalidates such essentializing predispositions and shows, instead, reimaginations of or analogues to the Old French poem that include multiple genres (poetry, short story, drama, opera), diverse responses to spirituality (Catholicism, secularism, Buddhism), and dozens of unique regional and national traditions (from France through Galicia, Germany, Persia, and North America).
Richard J. Utz
The Medieval Review, 2023.
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.
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".