Death, the Devil and the Wife: Danse Macabre Motifs in Nineteenth-Century Puppetry, from Punch to Kasperl
In the wake of Romanticism, during the first half of the nineteenth century, the late medieval motif of the danse macabre was rediscovered in the knockabout scenes between comic figures of hand-puppet theatre and personifications of Death and Evil. The Punch and Judy shows in England, Carl Reinhardt’s Kasperltheater in Germany, as well as the first printed Jan Klaassen plays in the Netherland, show how puppet repertoire drew on the grotesques of the danse macabre to refashion Hans Holbein’s representation of an individual, everyday life struggle with death. The adaptation of the motif to the domestic context of the petty bourgeoisie leads to the addition in puppet theatre of a third character, more terrible than Death and the Devil, namely the hero’s wife.
Keywords: hand-puppetry; Romanticism; satire; hybrid genres; England; Germany; the Netherlands
Copyright (c) 2022 Skenè. Journal of Theatre and Drama Studies
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Open Access Policy
This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.
This Journal is a CC-BY 4.0 publication (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). This Licence allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work’s authorship and initial publication in this Journal, providing a link to the Licence and explicitly underlining any change (full mention of Issue number, year, pages and DOI is required).
- The Author retains (i) the rights to reproduce, to distribute, to publicly perform, and to publicly display the Article in any medium for any purpose; (ii) the right to prepare derivative works from the Article; and (iii) the right to authorise others to make any use of the Article so long as the Author receives credit as Author and the Journal in which the Article has been published are cited as the source of first publication of the Article. For example, the Author may make and distribute copies in the course of teaching and research and may post the Article on personal or institutional Web sites and in other open-access digital repositories.
- The Author is free to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the Journal’s published version of the work, with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this Journal and explicitly underlining any change (full mention of Issue number, year, pages and DOI is required).
- The Author is permitted and encouraged to post their work online after the evaluation process has been successfully passed, as it can lead to productive exchanges as well as to a wider dissemination of the published work.