Renaissance Festivals

Merrying the Past and Present

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About the Book

This ethnographic study of contemporary American Renaissance fairs focuses on the Maryland Renaissance Festival, in which participants recreate sixteenth-century England through performances of theater, combat-at-arms, processions, street hawking, and meticulously faithful historical reconstructions. It is also partly an autobiographical account of interactive improvisation, subcultures within the festival framework, the delineation between living history and historical elaboration, and a new understanding of performers and patrons.

About the Author(s)

Kimberly Tony Korol-Evans is an independent scholar who performs at Renaissance festivals with her husband and son in their troupe A Klasse Akte. She has published a number of articles, including “Marketing Multiple Mythologies of Masculinity” and “Tudor Court Culture.” She is the founder and chair of the Festivals and Faires Area of the Popular Culture Association. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

Bibliographic Details

Kimberly Tony Korol-Evans
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 216
Bibliographic Info: 15 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4014-6
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5469-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      ix
Preface      1
Introduction: How Merriment Abounds      5

1. Seeking the New in the Old: A Brief History of the Contemporary American Renaissance Festival      19
2. Carnival Setting, Cultural Work      46
3. A Stroll Through the Sensescape of the MDRF      66
4. Living History at the MDRF: Performing Embodied Knowledge      95
5. Historical Elaboration: A Royal Day in Revel Grove      121
6. Performers, Patrons, and Playtrons: Interactions and Interfaces in the Intrastice      147

Afterword: “The Beer Is in the Pick-Up Truck”; or, “Put Down the Accent, Step Away from the Character and Nobody Gets Hurt!”      180
Notes      185
Bibliography      191
Index      199