The Juggler of Notre Dame and the Medievalizing of Modernity
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180 pages

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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.



Publié par
Date de parution 10 décembre 2018
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781783745425
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 12 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0020€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


volume 6

The Juggler of Notre Dame and the Medievalizing of Modernity
Vol. 6: War and Peace, Sex and Violence
Jan M. Ziolkowski
© 2018 Jan M. Ziolkowski

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (CC BY 4.0). This license allows you to share, copy, distribute and transmit the work; to adapt the work and to make commercial use of the work providing attribution is made to the author (but not in any way that suggests that he endorses you or your use of the work).
Attribution should include the following information: Jan M. Ziolkowski, The Juggler of Notre Dame and the Medievalizing of Modernity. Vol. 6: War and Peace, Sex and Violence . Cambridge, UK: Open Book Publishers, 2018,
Copyright and permissions for the reuse of many of the images included in this publication differ from the above. Copyright and permissions information for images is provided separately in the List of Illustrations.
Every effort has been made to identify and contact copyright holders and any omission or error will be corrected if notification is made to the publisher.
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Further details about CC BY licenses are available at
All external links were active at the time of publication unless otherwise stated and have been archived via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine at
Digital material and resources associated with this volume are available at
ISBN Paperback: 978-1-78374-539-5
ISBN Hardback: 978-1-78374-540-1
ISBN Digital (PDF): 978-1-78374-541-8
ISBN Digital ebook (epub): 978-1-78374-542-5
ISBN Digital ebook (mobi): 978-1-78374-543-2
DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0149
Cover image: Arman, Jongleur de Notre Dame , 1994, cast bronze statue with light fixtures, 231 x 90 x 82 cm, Arman Studio, New York. Photographer: Francois Fernandez, courtesy of Arman Studio, NY.
Cover design: Anna Gatti
All paper used by Open Book Publishers is SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative), PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes) and Forest Stewardship Council(r)(FSC(r) certified.
Printed in the United Kingdom, United States, and Australia by Lightning Source for Open Book Publishers (Cambridge, UK)

Note to the Reader
Juggler Allies
Great Britain
United States
The Juggler by Jingoism: Nazis and Their Neighbors
Virginal Visions
The Netherlands
Curt Sigmar Gutkind
Hans Hömberg
After the War
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Juggler
Richard Sullivan, Notre Dame Professor
R. O. Blechman, Cartoon Juggler
Robert Lax, Poet among Acrobats
Tony Curtis, Prime-Time Juggler
W. H. Auden, The Ballad of Barnaby
Music from Massenet to Peter Maxwell Davies
Membranes of Things Past
Misremembering and Remembering
Getting a Rise from the Male Member
Jung’s Jongleur
Positively Medieval: The Once and Future Juggler
The Juggler’s Prospects
Gropius vs. the Gothic Ivory Tower
The Tumbler’s Tumble
Michel Zink Reminds France
We All Need the Middle Ages
The Simplicity of Atonement
Notes to Chapter 1
Notes to Chapter 2
Notes to Chapter 3
Notes to Chapter 4
Notes to Chapter 5
Notes to Acknowledgments
Referenced Works
List of Illustrations

To Frits van Oostrom
“Who controls the past,” ran the Party slogan, “controls the future: who controls the present controls the past .”
—George Orwell, 1984

Note to the Reader
This volume completes a series. Together, the six form The Juggler of Notre Dame and the Medievalizing of Modernity. 1 The book as a whole probes one medieval story, its reception in culture from the Franco-Prussian War until today, and the placement of that reception within medieval revivalism as a larger phenomenon. The study has been designed to proceed largely in chronological order, but the progression across the centuries and decades is relieved by thematic chapters that deal with topics not restricted to any single time period.
This sixth and final installment, labeled “War and Peace, Sex and Violence,” follows the story of the story from the Second World War down to the present day. The narrative was put to an astonishing range of uses during the war years. In the fifties and sixties, it experienced what turned out to be a last hurrah in both high culture and mass culture. Afterward, it became the object of periodic playfulness and parody before slipping into at least temporary oblivion.
The chapters are followed by endnotes. Rather than being numbered, these notes are keyed to the words and phrases in the text that are presented in a different color. After the endnotes come the bibliography and illustration credits. In each volume-by-volume index, the names of most people have lifespans, regnal dates, or at least death dates.
One comment on the title of the story is in order. In proper French, Notre-Dame has a hyphen when the phrase refers to a building, institution, or place. Notre Dame, without the mark, refers to the woman, the mother of Jesus. In my own prose, the title is given in the form Le jongleur de Notre Dame , but the last two words will be found hyphenated in quotations and bibliographic citations if the original is so punctuated.
All translations are mine, unless otherwise specified.

1 The six-volume set is available on the publisher’s website at

1. Juggler Allies

© 2018 Jan M. Ziolkowski, CC BY 4.0
It would occur to only the most limited soul to investigate the Middle Ages in order to make them applicable to the present. At the same time, it confirms equal dullness if a person wished to reject the influence that the period must have on the understanding and proper treatment of the present.
—Wilhelm Grimm
Our Lady’s Tumbler and its prolific progeny have beguiled artists and authors of children’s books again and again through the innocence of the protagonist, who is both firm and fragile, durable and defenseless. His unquenchable gusto for expressing devotion has voyaged in tandem with self-deprecation and self-doubt. Then again, compound words that get across the strength of his selfhood fail to do justice to his supreme selflessness. Even if the multitalented but unpresuming jongleur must enact his athletic art secluded under curfew in a private space rather than before a gawking public in open commerce, performing his routine means so much to him that he will pursue it through thick and thin. No matter what toll the practice exacts on his carnal constitution, he presses on with his worship through dance, and shows no fear in kicking up his Achilles’ heels. In vexed times, these same qualities of emotional vulnerability, passionate creativity, and ceaseless persistence have rendered the entertainer irresistible to adults. As much as youngsters, these fans have craved the hope that can radiate from such a character—from such an underdog. Grown-ups in the belly of the beast have identified with the minstrel from the Middle Ages.
The most conspicuous pattern of all emerges during World War II, in tracts of land overtaken by the German army. The story elicited heightened engagement in those regions, subjected as they were to the humiliations and horrors of National Socialist racial laws and all the rest that Nazism entailed. Both the medieval tale and the many offshoots of Anatole France’s and Jules Massenet’s versions ignited special interest among Catholic writers, but the seductiveness of the narrative transcended denominations and religions. One noteworthy phenomenon was the attraction that Our Lady’s Tumbler held for wretches who had been billeted in concentration camps or otherwise incarcerated. Jails and prisons of the mid-twentieth century shared a few arresting parallels with thirteenth-century monasteries. The later penal institutions were mostly single-sex places whose denizens were recluses in cells, and often such establishments imposed rigid rules and rituals upon their communities. Consequently, imprisoned individuals identified with the entertainer’

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