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IMC 2023: Sessions

Session 544: 19th-Century Medievalism: Historiography, Translation, and Architecture

Tuesday 4 July 2023, 09.00-10.30

Moderator/Chair:Michael Evans, Faculty of Social Science, Delta College, Michigan
Paper 544-aRome and the Pornocracy of the Early 10th Century
(Language: English)
Brian Merlo, Department of History Saint Louis University Missouri
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Politics and Diplomacy, Sexuality, Women's Studies
Paper 544-bMedieval Mystery Plays in the Age of Darwin
(Language: English)
H. M. Cushman, Department of English & Comparative Literature, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Index terms: Language and Literature - Middle English, Manuscripts and Palaeography, Medievalism and Antiquarianism, Performance Arts - Drama
Paper 544-cCivic Medievalism and the Cityscape: Thomas Walter Harding's Leeds
(Language: English)
Jennifer McIlwrath Hurst, School of History, University of Leeds
Index terms: Architecture - General, Art History - General, Art History - Sculpture, Medievalism and Antiquarianism

Paper -a:
German theologians of the late 19th century coined the term 'Pornocracy' for the system of government in Rome dating approximately from 905 to 932. The senatrix, Theodora (d.916) - wife of the senator Theophylact (d.924) - and her daughter Marozia (d.937) were accused of being louche and sexually depraved by historians - from Liudprand of Cremona in the later 10th century, to Caesar Baronius in the early 17th century - and it is an idea that was propagated by many 19th- and 20th-century historians. Sources show that Theodora wielded unusual influence, and that her daughter Marozia exercised executive powers rare for a woman of the early 10th century. Marozia became senatrix in her own right. She appointed popes and had one pope deposed and murdered. It was this exercise of power, gained in part through marriages to powerful magnates, which seems to have offended many of those historians who have touched on the lives and careers of these women. This presentation will examine sources relating to Theodora and Marozia, and to their time, and expose the idea of a pornocracy as a myth that has managed to survive into the 21st century.

Paper -b:
I have located what I believe to be a previously unremarked upon (and unpublished) compilation and translation of a series of Middle English biblical plays in the Cornford-Darwin family papers. I have also found in these documents evidence that these are original translations, that they were marginally annotated by the translator for performance, that friends and family of the Cornford-Darwin family were creating their own productions of these and other medieval and early modern plays and that the individual who produced these documents - likely the poet and grand-daughter of Charles Darwin, Frances Darwin Cornford - and their immediate social network were strongly invested in the medieval English dramatic tradition. This paper will present these documents, offer initial interpretation of the translators choices, and begin to trace the implications of the reception of the plays in this circle, which included individuals of cultural, intellectual, and literary significance.

Paper -c:
The impacts of industrialist and former Lord Mayor Thomas Walter Harding's (1843-1927) medievalism are arguably still evident in the modern Leeds cityscape - from Tower Works' Italianate chimneys; to Brock's statue of the Black Prince in City Square, with its bas-relief plaques of Crécy and Poitiers - albeit somewhat removed from Harding's original intentions. This paper aims to examine impacts of Harding's medievalism on the built landscape and cultural identity of the city: particularly his deliberate connections between medieval pageantry, artistic beauty, and constitutional continuity in legitimising Victorian civic pride and Leeds' national status.