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GLANCE AT THE "PASSION-PLAY
London: W. H. Harrison, 1881. First edition. With several diagrams and musical notations. Small 8vo, original red cloth, lettered and ruled in gilt on the spine and upper cover, ruled in blind on the lower cover, and housed in a 3/4 red morocco box. a.e.g. 168. A fine copy of this very scarce book with some minor darkening and light evidence of staining not affecting the gilt lettering. RARE IN ORIGINAL CLOTH. Burton's account of his visit to Oberammergau to see the great "Passionsspiel." As he writes in the introductory note, "I went to the 'great religious drama in the beautiful Highlands of Bavaria' neither to scoff nor to pray, nor to swell the list of some thirty books and brochures which the mountain-play has already produced. My object was artistic and critical, with an Orientalistic and anthropological side; the wish to compare, haply to trace, some affinity between this survival of the Christian 'Mystery' and the living scenes of El-Islam at Meccah." Burton describes in detail all aspects of the Passion Play that he viewed in 1880 including details about the layout of the theatre, the cast of actors and chorus, the music (including 14 pages of Western musical notation), the preparations leading up to the enactment of the play, and a synopsis of the story through a list of acts and scenes. He found the play long (8 hours) and somewhat dull and concluded that it did not have any bearing at all on the pilgrimage at Meccah. “I found it impossible to draw any parallel between the Passions-Play and the three days’ pilgrimage at Meccah: the ideas are totally disconnected; there is not even a rope of sand to join them. The former is performed by a company of hereditary and professional players; the latter by a moving multitude of devotees. Oberammergau runs through the holy history of the Judaeo-Christian world. Meccah touches only upon the legend of Adam and Eve at Arafat, the tradition of Abraham and Ishmael at Muna and the Ka’abah, and finally absorbs itself in the life and career of Mohammed. The former is unreal, at best imitative realism. The latter is the living and breathing representation of what has changed but little for the last twelve centuries. In one point only city and village meet: both thrive upon the contributions of the pious.”
      [Bookseller: Buddenbrooks, Inc.]
Last Found On: 2013-07-26           Check availability:      Biblio    

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