Gower Bibliography

Medievalism's inheritance: Early inventions of medieval pasts

Peebles, Katie Lyn. "Medievalism's inheritance: Early inventions of medieval pasts." PhD thesis, Indiana University, 2010.

Review

“This dissertation examines how and why medievalism--the use of elements from the European Middle Ages in social commentary--began in the Middle Ages itself. . . . Each chapter focuses on an author experiencing political crisis: William of Malmesbury (c.1095-c.1143), John Gower (c.1330-1408), Sir Thomas Malory (c.1405-1471), and John Aubrey (1626-1697). These writers constructed medieval heritages out of available historical fragments, narratives, and their own dreams in order to resolve contemporary issues. . . . The basic process of ‘medieval’ medievalism is the same as the process that has been established in post-medieval periods: to make the past instrumental in cultural debates, these writers compared the terms of the chosen medieval period to the immediate concerns of the present. However, early medievalism is more weighted to a search for continuity and metaphorical constructions of cultural heritage in order to naturalize certain kinds of violence and mitigate losses of the past. William of Malmesbury and John Gower make lessons from the past obvious in attempts to secure a more peaceful future. Both Malory and Caxton were concerned with asserting a stable transmission of heritage that could transcend cycles of violence and limits of the book marketplace. Aubrey's use of medievalism in early modern scientific historical projects set a pattern for the continued intimacy of heritage and folklore studies, and of medievalism and medieval studies.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:DAI-A 71/08 (2011)
Subjects:Backgrounds and General Studies

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