Apollo, Apollo! An Ambiguous Call for Sophistication in Antwerp, 1561

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    This article explores the seemingly mixed messages in the Antwerp playwright Willem van Haecht’s Oordeel van Tmolus (Tmolus’ Verdict), based on Ovid’s tale of the metamorphosis of king Midas’ ears. Performed on the first evening of the 1561 Rederijkers’ theater competition in Antwerp, its first act reflects a call for “apollonian” aesthetics and a rejection of the genre of farce. The second act, however, seems to undermine this artistic stance. As this article clarifies, Van Haecht’s dramatization of the aftermath of the metamorphosis, in which a barber discovers Midas’ ears, testifies to the playwright's skillful mastery of “dionysian” farce techniques.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEuropean Medieval Drama
    Issue number2016
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • grotesque realism
    • Willem van Haecht
    • rederijkers
    • rhetoricians
    • Het oordeel van Tmolus
    • Landjuweel Antwerp 1561

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