IMC 2018: Sessions

Session 1745: True Stories and Other Lies: Orally-Derived Historical Traditions in the Early Medieval British Isles

Thursday 5 July 2018, 14.15-15.45

Organisers:Paul Gorton, Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds
Catalin Taranu, Institute for Research in the Humanities (IRH-ICUB), Universitatea din Bucureşti
Moderator/Chair:Alaric Hall, Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki
Paper 1745-a'Vera lex historiae' from Bede to Beowulf: Constructing Truthfulness in Early Medieval History-Writing
(Language: English)
Catalin Taranu, Institute for Research in the Humanities (IRH-ICUB), Universitatea din Bucureşti
Index terms: Language and Literature - Old English, Literacy and Orality, Mentalities
Paper 1745-bRemembering the North: Oral History or Historic Inspiration?
(Language: English)
Paul Gorton, Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Language and Literature - Celtic, Literacy and Orality
Paper 1745-cAuthority Strategies: A Brief Analysis of Gildas's De Excidio Britanniae
(Language: English)
Helena Schütz Leite, Departamento de História, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Brazil
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Language and Literature - Celtic, Language and Literature - Latin
Abstract

Inspired by John Niles’ essay ‘True Stories and Other Lies’, this panel intends to explore the porous and elusive border between what is presented as truth and what appears to be legendary or mythical in historical narratives influenced by oral traditions, as well as their interaction with collective and individual memory. Heroic poetry in the Old English, Old Welsh, and Old Irish traditions uses the chain of oral memory as a strategy of truthfulness, while more mainstream historiography written in the Latinate Classical tradition asserts authority by deferring to previous Christian authors and especially to Scripture. This session aims to explore how they both problematize the complex relationship between memory, truth, and the act of handing down stories about the past.