Joyful Summons

The Joyful Summons in Europe – Rozanne Versendaal (PhD candidate)

Parody was a significant and important strategy for shaping joyful culture in Medieval and Renaissance Europe. Parodies of official charters and episcopal ordinances became vehicles to express and exchange ideas on joyful themes. An example of such a joyful, parodic summons was the Summons of Lent, a mock ordinance that widely circulated in 16th century France and in the Low Countries. The text can be found in different kinds of manuscripts from the period, as well as in printed books and on single sheets. The text parodies the official Church’s Lenten summons and the title refers to the mock authority – Lent – who sends out the ordinance. For several hundred years, the Summons of Lent remained a popular text that was read and/or performed during celebrations of Carnival in France and in the Low Countries. This reveals another important aspect of joyful culture: its long-lasting history, its importance beyond the late Middle Ages and its continuation in the early modern period.