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Joshua Davies

115 3 Medievalist double consciousness and the production of difference: Medieval bards, cultural memory and nationalist fantasy Thomas Gray’s 1757 poem ‘The Bard’ sits at the centre of a complex network of medievalist cultural memory. Gray was an accomplished scholar and historian as well as poet, familiar with many works of medieval as well as Classical literature, and his poem was first published at his good friend Horace Walpole’s press at Strawberry Hill. An image of Walpole’s astonishing medievalist building is printed on its title page (see Figure  3

in Visions and ruins
Joshua Davies

18 1 Ruins and wonders: The poetics of cultural memory in and of early medieval England In the beginning there is ruin. Jacques Derrida, Memoirs of the Blind: The Self-​Portrait and Other Ruins1 When is the now of a medieval text? How might a text be situated in, or free from, historical process? These are the questions posed by Benjamin Thorpe in the preface to his edition of Cædmon’s Metrical Paraphrase of Parts of the Holy Scriptures, in Anglo-​ Saxon, a foundational work of Anglo-​Saxon studies first published in 1832. Although he justified his edition by

in Visions and ruins
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Cultural memory and the untimely Middle Ages
Author: Joshua Davies

This book is a study of cultural memory in and of the British Middle Ages. It works with material drawn from across the medieval period – in Old English, Middle English and Latin, as well as material and visual culture – and explores modern translations, reworkings and appropriations of these texts to examine how images of the past have been created, adapted and shared. It interrogates how cultural memory formed, and was formed by, social identities in the Middle Ages and how ideas about the past intersected with ideas about the present and future. It also examines how the presence of the Middle Ages has been felt, understood and perpetuated in modernity and the cultural possibilities and transformations this has generated. The Middle Ages encountered in this book is a site of cultural potential, a means of imagining the future as well as imaging the past.

The scope of this book is defined by the duration of cultural forms rather than traditional habits of historical periodization and it seeks to reveal connections across time, place and media to explore the temporal complexities of cultural production and subject formation. It reveals a transtemporal and transnational archive of the modern Middle Ages.

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Joshua Davies

9 19 Afterword: Migrations The past is always contemporary. Derek Jarman1 This book has traced a series of movements across time, space, form and media. It has attempted to reveal and accommodate the diversity of the archive of the Middle Ages and demonstrate how forms of cultural memory produced in or inspired by the Middle Ages define subject positions, collective identities and visions of the future. It has offered a series of micro-​histories that illustrate the intimate connections between ideas of ‘the modern’ and ‘the medieval’ and outline some of the

in Visions and ruins
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Susan M. Johns

transmission of cultural memories when, in the eighteenth-century account of Daniel Defoe, ‘stories of Vortigern and Roger of Mortimer were in every old woman’s mouth’. 17 Although the comment serves to dismiss the significance of the stories, it is nevertheless a tacit admission that women were active in the oral transmission or propagation of these traditions. The formation of social memory was gendered in Wales from its inception: Gwyn Williams, discussing the renaissance in Welsh literature and culture following the Norman conquest of Wales, noted that during the age

in Gender, nation and conquest in the high Middle Ages
Lindy Brady

that alliance with a revolt by the men of Chester (see below).89 Orderic’s narrative also depicts the Welsh borderlands as a politically allied region, demonstrating the strength of a cultural memory that saw this area united in opposition to the Normans. Another passage from the same book of the Ecclesiastical History reinforces this impression, when Orderic relates: ‘Circa terminos regni occidentem aut plagam septentrionalem uersus effrenis adhuc ferocia superbiebat; et Angliæ regi nisi ad libitum suum famulari sub rege Eduardo aliisque prioribus olim despexerat

in Writing the Welsh borderlands in Anglo-Saxon England
Vinland as remembered by Icelanders
Simon Halink

retreated to Greenland and Iceland, and ‘Vínland became only a saga ’. 3 However, in Iceland, a saga is hardly ever ‘only’ a saga, or a nice story for entertainment’s sake; saga literature is a vital source of collective identity and national pride. Even if the central plot of the Vinland sagas revolves around a failed attempt to colonise new land, defeat can be transformed into a higher form of moral victory. In this essay, I will explore the various ways in which the story of Vinland has been framed in the cultural memory of Icelanders on both sides of the Atlantic

in From Iceland to the Americas
Joshua Davies

of Edward I  but, as I  will explore, the crosses were deeply political and more committed to reimagining than remembering the past. They fashioned an idealised image of Eleanor that stands distinct from the historical record but defined cultural memories of her. Over time, however, what were once memorials to an individual woman came to signify a more general sense of loss, melancholy and nostalgia that spoke to particular times, places and experiences. Barry’s Charing Cross is one of a number of nineteenth-​and twentieth-​century monuments that self

in Visions and ruins
Tim William Machan

some of the same tropes that I have traced in this book and that Tolkien himself used. However much the Nazis’ notions of world dominance differed from the aspirations of every English writer I have considered, both groups shared the strategy of incorporating a Nordic past in their cultural memories. What I have called a parallel descent from Germanic prehistory thus has unsettling epistemic implications. If memory is conditioned not only by what is being remembered but by who is doing the remembering, as Ricœur and Assmann maintain, then the process itself – the

in Northern memories and the English Middle Ages
Marcia Landy

elements and emergent cultural memories of medievalism as legend and folklore. ‘The crystals of time’: decomposing the past Angelo Restivo has characterised Italian cinema and society as in a state of ‘vital crisis … connected, first, to the process of political and economic organisation that reconstructed the nation into the Italy we know today; and, secondly, to the larger and

in Medieval film