IMC 2018: Sessions

Session 1626: Gender, Sexuality, and Memory

Thursday 5 July 2018, 11.15-12.45

Moderator/Chair:Anne Foerster, Historisches Institut, Universit├Ąt Paderborn
Paper 1626-aRichard the Lionheart, Contested Queerness, and Crusading Memory
(Language: English)
Hilary Rhodes, Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds
Index terms: Crusades, Historiography - Modern Scholarship, Sexuality, Teaching the Middle Ages
Paper 1626-bAlbina the Anti-Saint?: Hagiographical Influence and Transgendering in the 'Albina' Prologue of the Middle English Prose Brut Chronicle
(Language: English)
Madelaine Smart, Department of English, University of Liverpool
Index terms: Gender Studies, Hagiography, Sexuality, Women's Studies

Paper -a:
This paper considers the peculiar relationship of modern historiography with the personal character of Richard the Lionheart, and its implications for our study of both this individual and collective history. Drawing on both medieval and modern sources, I investigate questions of crusading masculinity and legitimacy, the ways in which it has altered and been remembered over time, and propose critical challenges for our own troubled postmodern relationship with the teaching and memory of the crusades.

Paper -b:
The ‘Albina’ prologue has been attached to the Middle English Prose Brut Chronicle since its first appearance in the vernacular, providing an explanation for the island’s name (Albion) and the origin of the race of giants dwelling there. These two hitherto unaddressed mysteries were expanded upon and formed into a short but complex pre-foundation narrative that became permanently attached to the Brut in its Anglo-Norman, Latin and Middle English forms. The prologue presents the daughters of a great King, who plot to kill their husbands, are banished in boats and wash ashore the barren island where they found a nation, naming it Albion after the eldest sister. Short on men, the sisters then propagate with demonic spirits and spawn the race of giants, which Brutus conquers on founding Britain; renaming the nation after his own name and erasing all memory of Albina’s narrative from the landscape and history of Britain. Existing recognitions of hagiographical influences on the ‘Albina’ prologue focus on the lives of St Ursula, Mary Magdalene and the quasi-hagiographical tale of Constance of Gower’s Confessio Amantis. However, echoes of the lives of St Agatha, St Eugenia and St Euphrasia, specifically their relationship with gender and transgendering, can be seen in the ‘Albina’ narrative. In this paper, I explore the ‘Albina’ prologue’s reflection of the sisters’ symbolic transformation from female to male and how this contrasts similar transformations in these three hagiographical texts.