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IMC 2015: Sessions

Session 221: Reforming Medieval Kingship

Monday 6 July 2015, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Paul R. Dryburgh, The National Archives, London
Paper 221-aReform, Renewal, and 12th-Century Kingship in England and Germany
(Language: English)
Ryan Kemp, Department of History & Welsh History, Aberystwyth University
Index terms: Historiography - Modern Scholarship, Language and Literature - Comparative, Political Thought
Paper 221-bReforming Edward II
(Language: English)
Kit Heyam, School of English, University of Leeds
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Language and Literature - Middle English, Language and Literature - Latin

Paper -a:
This paper asks what kingship in England and Germany during the 12th century owed to sentiments of reform and renewal. A number of historiographical paradigms have influenced how kingship has been perceived, with the Anglophone scholarship concentrating on innovation. Discussing aspects of continuity is made more difficult when contemporary statements of political reform and renewal have been discussed through more modern preoccupations with the nation state and a Weberian shift from charismatic to bureaucratic authority. This paper examines how far these preoccupations reflect contemporary concerns and how statements of reform differed in their content and implication across England and Germany.

Paper -b:
This paper addresses the development of the narrative of Edward II in historical texts: principally the 'long version' of the Brut (Anglo-Norman and English translation) and Geoffrey le Baker's Chronicon. It focuses particularly on the sympathetic representation of Edward as reformed and repentant after his deposition, in contrast to what is frequently portrayed as dissolute behaviour on the throne. While much scholarship has focused on immediate political motivations for the re-forming of Edward’s story between texts, this paper argues for the additional consideration of creative or literary motivations: in particular, the search for a sensational popular narrative, and the alignment of Edward’s life with the de casibus tradition.