Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9780226548043 Will Publish April 2018
Cloth $105.00 ISBN: 9780226547992 Will Publish April 2018
An e-book edition will be published.

Strange Footing

Poetic Form and Dance in the Late Middle Ages

Seeta Chaganti

Strange Footing

Seeta Chaganti

304 pages | 10 color plates, 25 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2018
Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9780226548043 Will Publish April 2018
Cloth $105.00 ISBN: 9780226547992 Will Publish April 2018
E-book $35.00 ISBN: 9780226548180 Will Publish April 2018
For premodern audiences, poetic form did not exist solely as meter, stanzas, or rhyme scheme. Rather, the form of a poem emerged as an experience, one generated when an audience immersed in a culture of dance encountered a poetic text.

Exploring the complex relationship between medieval dance and medieval poetry, Strange Footing argues that the intersection of texts and dance produced an experience of poetic form based in disorientation, asymmetry, and even misstep. Medieval dance guided audiences to approach poetry not in terms of the body’s regular marking of time and space, but rather in the irregular and surprising forces of virtual motion around, ahead of, and behind the dancing body. Reading medieval poems through artworks, paintings, and sculptures depicting dance, Seeta Chaganti illuminates texts that have long eluded our full understanding, inviting us to inhabit their strange footings askew of conventional space and time.

Strange Footing deploys the motion of dance to change how we read medieval poetry, generating a new theory of poetic form for medieval studies and beyond.

List of Illustrations

Part One

1. “Vanysshed Was this Daunce”: Reenactment, Experience, Virtuality
2. Bonaventure and a Strumpet: A Theory of Medieval Poetic Form

Part Two

3. “A Certain Slant of Light”: Reenacting Danse macabre as Dance
4. “Dredful Fotyng”: Reenacting Danse macabre’s Poetic Form

Part Three

5. The Carole’s Virtual Circles
6. Dance on the Surface, Dance in the Depths: Reenacting Form in the Middle English Carol

Conclusion: Dance in the Margins, Dance in the Center


Review Quotes
Katharine Breen, Northwestern University
“Seeta Chaganti’s Strange Footing: Poetic Form and Dance in the Late Middle Ages is interdisciplinary in the most powerful sense of the term. Chaganti is fully conversant with the theory and practice of both dance criticism and medieval literary studies, and works at the intersection of the two fields to produce a genuinely original model of poetic form illuminated by danced virtuality.”
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