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England, Scotland, and France in the late Middle Ages
Daniel Davies

The twin poles of alliance and antagonism define Scotland’s path through the late Middle Ages, ties created in the court and on the battlefield but embellished by historical chroniclers and poets passing between and among England, Scotland and France. Conflicts that are today siloed into separate interpretative frameworks, including the Scottish Wars of Independence, the Hundred Years War and rebellions of Owain Glyn Dŵr, were represented by medieval writers as fundamentally connected. Even as the imagination of historians outstripped the actual historical record of military alliance, chronicles provide valuable insights into the way that different communities conceptualised conflict. This chapter turns to historiographical writing and political poetry in order to recover medieval representations of entwined Anglo-Scottish and Anglo-French conflict. For Scottish historians, any conflict involving England is another instantiation of the long history of English imperialism and requires an expansive anti-English coalition. Political prophecy furnishes visions of these coalitions as opaque references that were conscripted as evidence for the ancient pedigree of international amity. For the English, such prophecies served as warnings against complacency and instilled a paranoia about the destructive potential of multilateral warfare. Centring Scotland within the history of late medieval conflict reveals the throughlines between ancient and contemporary insular and continental warfare, and, moreover, demonstrates the importance of historiographical writing for integrating conflict within the history of the nation.

in Literatures of the Hundred Years War
Bridget of Sweden and Catherine of Siena in medieval England
Jennifer N. Brown

The readership of texts by visionary women, especially Bridget of Sweden (1303–73) and Catherine of Siena (1347–80), may seem far removed from the warring kings and popes around them. However, the overlapping and interconnected Avignon Papacy (1309–77), Hundred Years War (1337–1453) and Papal Schism (1378–1417) and the women’s visions concerning these events were all enmeshed in a way that we can see now and in a way that many medieval writers understood in the moment. By looking closely at some of their texts – Bridget’s Revelations, Stephen Maconi’s letter about Catherine’s visit to Avignon, and both of their circulating vitae – this chapter examines how English readers and writers used the texts by and about these women to support, justify and clarify the English position during the Hundred Years War, and as a way of cementing an English nationalism in opposition to the French, imagining England as a political and religious centre in Europe both politically and religiously. Although many of the texts examined here circulated in Latin, this chapter focuses on vernacular English texts for two reasons: one, the audience and provenance of these texts are from the same class and group that are fighting in the Hundred Years War; and two, the vernacularity in itself is a statement of political and national affiliation. The very vernacularity and subject matter of these texts, then, are subtly a political statement and stance on the War. Also, these texts – like the women in them – are not simply a product of the sentiments inspired by the war but producers of them.

in Literatures of the Hundred Years War
Alani Hicks-Bartlett

In all of her works, Christine de Pizan gives sustained attention to the tears that are shed due to emotional turmoil. While her prioritisation of her own emotive responses, and the mourning and crying that come to categorise her relationships with others are frequently read in alignment with her widowhood and viewed as femicentric characteristics directly related to specific details of her biography, Pizan’s recurrence to tears qua authorial stamp has explicit political significance: she frequently stages the importance of tears and mourning to indicate the affective and corporeal response that individuals should have on both personal and political levels. Not only does this chart a common thread throughout her entire oeuvre that bridges the purported gap between the personal and the political, but Pizan’s use of tears signal one’s necessary corporeal and affective investment in political matters. Indeed, it is a civic duty to be fully implicated in the affairs of the state, Pizan argues, and only when individuals are implicated can the healthiest course of political action can be taken. Along with emphasising the necessary transformations that the bereaved body marshals as it contends with political solvency and loss, it is especially in Pizan’s commentary on the Hundred Years War, and in texts like the Epistre a la Royne, the Lamentacion sur les maux de la guerre civile, the Prison de la vie humaine and the Ditié de Jehanne d’Arc, in which she prioritises grief, the body and political action to insist upon the enmeshment of domestic and political spheres, and the concomitance of personal involvement and collective social duty.

in Literatures of the Hundred Years War
Joanna Mąkowska

By situating Baldwin’s Jimmy’s Blues and Other Poems in conversation with Jericho Brown’s 2019 poetry collection The Tradition, this article examines the theory of love in their poetic thinking. It argues that in their poetry, love emerges as a multifaceted mode of knowing and feeling, grounded in corporeal intensity and imbued with sociopolitical and historical meanings. Both Baldwin and Brown view love as integral to the understanding of queer sexuality and racial politics, foregrounding at the same time the challenges of loving and being loved in a historically anti-Black society. Their poetics of love coalesces the intellectual and the affective, the erotic and the political, moving beyond the conventions of inward-bound and personal lyric toward what Martinican philosopher and novelist Édouard Glissant termed a “poetics of relation.” Such transgenerational reading also allows us to explore Baldwin’s and Brown’s poetry as acutely attuned to historical moments which seem strikingly similar: Reagan’s and Trump’s presidencies.

James Baldwin Review
Rashida K. Braggs
,
William Murray
, and
Elijah Parks

Music lives and breathes through the spaces of much of James Baldwin’s oeuvre. This article introduces a course that features Baldwin’s musical literature and teaches students to compose music inspired by their newfound knowledge of Baldwin. The course, entitled “James Baldwin’s Song,” was taught in the department of Africana Studies at Williams College in fall 2021. It guided students to listen to Baldwin in a different way—through a musical lens and by relating Baldwin’s wisdom to their own lives. This article takes readers behind the scenes as it shares some of the curricular choices that guided the course and student insights gleaned from it. Though students heard many things in Baldwin’s musical oeuvre, two ideas sang out most clearly: that the blues was not just music but was also a way of living, and that joy differed from happiness. Accordingly, the second half of this article illustrates these key concepts as featured in original songs from the professor and student co-authors.

James Baldwin Review
A Review of Biographies about James Baldwin
William Henry Pruitt III

This review essay compares the research methodologies and narrative strategies of Baldwin biographies as well as their main claims. Analyzing these books in their chronological order, it seeks to chart a history of book-length knowledge production about the dynamics between Baldwin’s ideas, art, personal life, and public roles. The conclusion of this review essay heralds the future of biographical research in Baldwin Studies. It also proposes two new narratives about Baldwin: a chronicle of his responses to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s surveillance of him and a broader chronicle of his responses to Cold War conservatism.

James Baldwin Review
Open Access (free)
A Review
Herb Boyd

This review of Jubilee for Jimmy explores the various ways Baldwin’s genius impacts our musical, dance, and literary culture. It was an extravagant performance that had both thematic and chronological resonance, approximating Baldwin’s influence. Most creative was the dance sequence in which two men evoked dramatic moments of love and passion.

James Baldwin Review
Open Access (free)
James Baldwin’s Poethics of Love
Emanuela Maltese

Often overlooked by James Baldwin criticism or addressed according to its unique relationship to sex and gender, love plays a central role in the writer’s oeuvre. This article, conceived as a contrapuntal reading between A Dialogue (1972)—the transcript of a four-hour conversation between James Baldwin and poet Nikki Giovanni in November 1971—and If Beale Street Could Talk (1974), Baldwin’s fifth novel, will shed light on Baldwin’s “poethics” of love in the 1970s, after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination and the author’s engagement with Black Power and feminism. This revision takes its cues from intersectionality and extends them via Hortense Spillers’s bold critique of Baldwin’s politics of intimacy, his writing style, and the American family grammar. His vision of love as moral “energy” not only anticipates what Denise Ferreira da Silva terms a “Black Feminist Poethics,” but is also a potential “key” to end “the racial nightmare” and “save the children,” thereby becoming a poethics of love for the infancy of the world.

James Baldwin Review
James Baldwin Remembered
Walter Lowe Jr.

James Baldwin Review offers readers a reprint of a rare archival find, an article from Emerge magazine, first published in October of 1989, which ran with this abstract: “A magazine editor recalls working with his literary hero and getting to know the surprisingly vulnerable, charming, and often exasperating man behind the legend.”

James Baldwin Review
Marta Werbanowska

Like much of his prose and nonfiction, Baldwin’s poetry follows his actual and figurative movement between Europe and America against the backdrop of his homeland’s constant refusal to work through its racist, imperialist, and heterosexist legacies. The 2014 reissue of his two poetry collections, Jimmy’s Blues (1983) and Gypsy (1989), as Jimmy’s Blues and Other Poems urges us to revisit Baldwin’s poetry as an expression of his ideas and sentiments through a different lens: that of a blues poetics. In Baldwin’s poetry, the blues provide an aesthetic and epistemic framework for his expression of a radical internationalist politics of liberation.

James Baldwin Review