The Consolidated Research Group “Literature, Art and Representation in the Long Middle Ages” is reinforced as a busy team by questioning the literary, artistic, musical, and theatrical traces left by medieval culture in its long historical journey. The LAiREM Group has the investigation of the creation and diffusion of texts in their context, and their iridescent reflection in the visual culture of the time in its genetic code.

In the current stage, the challenge is to substantially extend the framework to the entire modern age, by applying the historical period which Jacques Le Goff named it as “Long Middle Age” to the investigation with artistic persistence until the present. This period is extended until the Industrial Revolution. As the famous French historian said “once you reach the deep layers of history, what you see are continuities” (Lo maravilloso y lo cotidiano en el Occidente medieval, Barcelona, Gedisa 1985, p.180). The task of the two-members group will be establishing the historical continuities and discontinuities from the 10th to the 18th century, which are presided over by the idea of rebirth over the remains of the ancient world. As the phoenix that revives from its own ashes, it burns and immolates itself again. Therefore the classic bird is manifested with changing colored feathers throughout this long period called medieval and post-medieval. These new investigation strategies allow us to improve on in the European civilization’s knowledge born in the middle age and completed in the modern one. These strategies focus on elements that have often remained blurred and exploring unusual or undervalued documents, and contrasting the different aspects which characterized that period.

Correcting old and modern deformations and prejudices, the fact is the Middle Age is far from being a transitional period between two peaks (classical Antiquity and the modern Renaissance) and it stands as the axis and expression of Western European civilization. As Carlo Ginzburg said Middle Age as the mirror of our times.

Based on the multidisciplinary approach that we propose, the concrete implementation of the research during the period 2017-2019 will transit through long transverse lines that will help fit in the specific objectives and particular energies:
*On the one hand, the group deals with the performative modes and their variations according to the time and literary genre.
*On the other hand, the relations between the so-called “high culture” or literary culture and simplified and traditional culture are addressed.
*Obviously, the links between the expressions of written culture and visual culture are explored, to consolidate and expand the corpus of medieval texts (and now also modern) and images that we had already begun in the previous SGR. The aim is to offer a representative corpus of poetic-dramatic works, narrative prose, edifying writings or “ego documents” (letters, diaries, visions) from the historical period of reference. On the one hand, by placing them in their context of presentation (architectural, liturgical, theatrical, vocal and musical) and on the other hand, by analyzing the traces that remain in the textual and musical manuscripts, in the plastic works and in the traditional survivals (liturgical rite, theatre and popular festival).
Based on the multidisciplinary approach that we propose; the essence of the investigation is expressed in the following lines which are developed in the period 2017-2019:

*A) Violence, ritual and religion. The present subject of violence of a religious nature must make us reflect on its roots and points of departure. In many aspects, it goes back to the middle ages when all kinds of collisions took place, particularly between Christian and Islamic expansionism (invasions, crusades, holy war), but also with the persecution of dissidents within the same religion (anti-Cathar crusade, inquisition, persecution of Jews). Confrontations that have their ritual, artistic, festive and spectacular translation. In particular, the fictional battles between Moors (or Turks) and Christians with their theatrical and choreographic derivatives that spread all over the world (through the SpanishPortuguese colonization). They also have survived until today in Europe, Africa, America or Asia. But the most elaborate human creation on violence is in the tragedy. It is a classic genre, which in the middle it was represented the Passion and Death of Christ, with the exaltation of the sacrificial and painful components that had to be shown in the ritual scene. As well as the public display of penance and self-punishment, whether it be the “picaos” and flagellants of the mourning processions of Christian Holy Week or the Shiite Muslim in the commemoration of the Ashura. The tragedy of death is also linked to the appearance of a new iconographic, literary and choreographic genre. Such as Danse Macabre, which generates a series of texts in the different European languages, a repertoire of images and choreographic forms that were born at the end of the medieval period. They continue throughout the modern age, with a peculiar impulse during the baroque and some surviving until today, after an artistic reflux behind the impact of the first and second world wars, when death gave rise to a pervasive and mournful macabre art.

It plans to hold an international congress on the Tragedy of Passion and Death in the Mediterranean area. To encourage actions that contribute to mutual knowledge and cooperation between the different Mediterranean countries, societies, and cultures. It also promotes the progressive construction in the Mediterranean of an area of peace and stability, shared prosperity, and dialogue between cultures and civilizations. It is contributing to the fundamental aims of the European Union’s Euro-Mediterranean policy and the so-called Barcelona Process. All this with the complicity of Europassion, an initiative that brings together 90 Passions from 16 European countries, and the Catalan Federation of Passions ( The fact is that these stage manifestations are not only theatrical representations or religious themes. However, they are currently a social movement that brings together boys and girls, young and old people with different ideas and thoughts, who work towards a common goal.

*B) The emergence study of female authority at the convent and court in the 15th and 17th centuries. Exemplariness and gender: saints as models. Performativity in Juana de la Cruz. Authority and authorship in female authors. Women’s argument in its historical context. The literary circles of Maria of Aragon and Maria of Castile. Feminine spirituality in the time of Cisneros. Exemplariness and gender: saints as models, primarily focus on Mary Magdalene. The use of religious discourse as the source of legitimization of power: Isabella I of Castile. The use of the storytelling and religious images as a source of legitimization of female domination. The culture of death: the dynastic celebrations such as the dance of death or the triumph of death. The reception of classical culture in the Aragonese and Castilian Crowns.

An international congress is planned at the Center for Modern Languages of the University of London, directed by Catherine Davies. Two more conferences which have a comparative perspective between court and convent and between diverse cultural areas at Magdalen College of Oxford University, with co-financing of the projects directed by M. Morrás and R. Sanmartín.

*C) Philological edition of medieval and modern texts.
Edition of the Lives of Visionaries (María García, María de Ajofrín) (Celia Redondo & María Morrás)
Edition of the Dance of Death by Pere Miquel Carbonell (F. Massip)
Edition of the “Dança General de la Muerte” (M. Morrás)
Edition of the Complete Works of Ramon Vidal de Besalú (A. Espadaler, Publ. UB)
Edition of the Passion Theatre (L. Kovács, Our Classics)
Edition of La Vesita by Joan Ferrandis de Herédia (F. Massip, Cuadernos del SEMYR)
Edition of Roman de Jaufré (A. Espadaler, Ed. Barcino)
Edition by Juan Rodríguez del Padrón, Chair of honour. Triumph of women. (M. Morrás, Ed. Cátedra)
Christmas Theatre Edition (F. Huerta & F. Massip, Our Classics)

At the same time, the members of the project will contribute with codicological and bibliographical information for PhiloBiblon (BITECA: Bibliografía de Textos Catalanes Antiguos and BETA: Biblbiografía Española de Textos Antiguos).

LAiREM not only produces reliable knowledge but also transfers it to society in a rigorous way: through the active participation of the team in planning activities, interpretation of collections, advising on concerts and stage productions, etc. of cultural institutions and companies such as museums, libraries, theatre companies, musical groups and cultural associations. For example, the exhibition on historical graphite in the MNAC (2019). The members of the group work closely with the National Art Museum of Catalonia, the Library of Catalonia and theatre and music companies, such as Nao de amores, Antiguos Monaguillos de Montserrat or Capilla de Ministriles. Not only with the interpretation of historical texts and scores but also promoting particular staging or recordings. This year we have promoted the centenary of Josep Romeu i Figueras, not only by publishing a book (Teatro medieval en escena. Medieval and Renaissance theatre performances (1961- 1969) by Josep Romeu i Figueras, under the care of Francesc Massip, 2017), but promoting a cycle of medieval theatre with the participation of Nao de amores (Triumph of Love by Juan del Encina), and with the historical and theatrical advice that we have provided for the staging of the medieval Mystery of the Passion of Cervera, which was staged in the church of Santa Maria de Cervera on 4 March 2017, directed by Pep Oriol i Alba Cuñé, with the intention that it should become an annual activity.