'Mumming past, present, future - what are we looking for?'
The paper is an introduction to some of the major questions we might ask about mumming. What is the relationship between the texts of mummers' plays and texts contained in popular chapbooks from the late 18th Century? Secondly, what is the relationship between mummers' plays and both 'pantomimes' (created by John Rich and others in the early part of the 18th century) and the Italian Comedy? Thirdly, is it possible to trace a multiple historical dissemination of mumming both around Britain and following migrations and trade routes to Newfoundland, the Caribbean and further afield? Fourthly, what antecedents may lie with localised variants of house visiting associated with performative calendar customs? Fifthly, what can we learn from the consideration of contemporary mumming performances? The paper will relate these larger questions to the presentation at the 2011 and 2012 Unconventions.
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