Preacher and audience: friar Venturino da Bergamo and ‘popular voices’

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This paper begins by briefly making the case for including those going to sermons in a project seeking to hear ‘popular’ or ‘subversive’ voices. This paves the way for a short discussion of source questions, before turning to a case study presenting and assessing the evidence for a relatively well-documented but understudied revival, led to Rome in 1335 by a Dominican, friar Venturino da Bergamo. As well as reinserting Venturino in the general narrative of late medieval preaching and devotional movements, the paper is intended to underscore two elements. First, it makes an obvious point that bears reiteration: those attending sermons were in general capable of unpredictable, autonomous engagement in exchange with those preaching to them. Second, it argues that this occurs in ways retrievable by historians and which should be of interest to those working outside sermon studies. It ends by suggesting that thinking about the oral delivery of sermons more often in terms of an interchange between preacher and audience may serve to improve our reconstruction of their performance. This may also prove a fruitful line of enquiry for political historians interested in tracing and understanding the language available to popular and subversive voices.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe voices of the people in late medieval Europe
Subtitle of host publicationcommunication and popular politics
EditorsJan Dumolyn, Jelle Haemers, Hipolito Rafael Oliva Herrer, Vincent Challet
Place of PublicationTurnhout
PublisherBrepols Publishers
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9782503549910
ISBN (Print)9782503549835
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Publication series

NameStudies in European urban history (1100-1800)


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