fundamentally ironic source, from the second half of the nineteenth century onwards, tells us much more about the identities – national, local, ethnic and religious – of those writing about Winchester than it does about its medieval Jews and responses to them.
Charles Dellheim has pointed out the ‘striking paradox’ that ‘as England became the first industrial nation, it became increasingly fascinated by its preindustrial past and in particular its medieval inheritance’. 85 This interest was manifested especially at a local level, with, from the 1840s onwards, the formation
Paganism, infidelity and biblical punishment in the Capitulatio de partibus Saxoniae
Religious Saxons: paganism, infidelity
and biblical punishment in the
Capitulatio de partibus Saxoniae
Charlemagne’s Church was not an exclusively Frankish Church.1 The community of the faithful over which the Carolingians claimed divinely ordained rule
was multi-ethnic, the result of decades’ worth of Frankish military expansion.
Most of the peoples that came to be incorporated into the Frankish realm over
the course of the eighth century were Christian. Some, however, were not, in
which case conquest could lead to (attempted) conversion. A
emperor, that Christian missionizing had no obligatory force over
them in those places where they lived. Against this background, tension
was created between Agobard, the bishop of Lyon, and his successor
Amolo against the emperor. Agobard speaks of the preferred status of
the Jews, of their arrogance, of their attacking a Jewish woman who had
converted to Christianity, and of their attempts to persuade Christians to
convert to Judaism. Agobard’s claim against him was that, as a Christian
emperor he ought not to permit such improper behavior on the part of
Jews in Portsmouth during the long eighteenth century
’, local historian, James Thomas, reminds us, ‘was marked by contrasts’. Beyond the surface glamour brought by royal visits and naval triumphs ‘lay a bewildering mass of seething tensions, tensions which frequently erupted in open conflict’. 18 What partially differentiated the Jews of Portsmouth from those in the rest of the town was the desire of the Jewish communal gatekeepers, or ethnic brokers, to police their less ‘polite’ brethren. It proved a difficult task and one further exacerbated by divisions amongst the Jewish elite.
wisps of speech’ (7).
In Visions and Ruins it is culture that provides the ‘colloid’ that
joins human beings together. Against the stark background of a
godless universe, the art humans create retains its meaning. Russell
draws on The Ruin in the ninth section of the poem, which is titled
‘Ruin’ and consists of rearrangements of translated passages from
The Ruin that are supplemented by original material. Before we
turn to those lines in detail, it is worth considering the lines which
Despair is a ruin of the mind, the brain-cells crumbling
60 Michael J. B. Allen and Daniel Calder, Sources and Analogues of Old English Poetry: The Major Latin Texts in Translation (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1976), p. 2.
61 Ibid., p. 3.
62 A. N. Doane, Genesis A: A New Edition, Revised , Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies 435 (Tempe: ACMRS, 2013), p. 227.
63 Evans, ‘ Genesis B and Its Background’, p. 1.
64 Bennett A. Brockman, ‘“Heroic” and “Christian” in Genesis A : The Evidence of the Cain and Abel Episode’, Modern Language Quarterly , 35 (1974), 115–28; Nina Boyd, ‘Doctrine and Criticism: A