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Concealed Criticism: The Uses of History in Anglo-Norman Literature, 1130-1210

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dc.contributor.advisor Gerstein, Linda Ristow, William 2016-07-19T19:26:51Z 2016-07-19T19:26:51Z 2016
dc.description.abstract The twelfth century in western Europe was marked by tensions and negotiations between Church, aristocracy, and monarchies, each of which vied with the others for power and influence. At the same time, a developing literary culture discovered new ways to provide social commentary, including commentary on the power-negotiations among the ruling elite. This thesis examines the the functions of history in four works by authors writing in England and Normandy during the twelfth century to argue that historians used their work as commentary on the policies of Kings Stephen, Henry II, and John between 1130 and 1210. The four works, Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae, Master Wace’s Roman de Brut, John of Salisbury’s Policraticus, and Gerald of Wales’ Expugnatio Hibernica, each use descriptions of the past to criticize the monarchy by implying that the reigning king is not as good as rulers from history. Three of these works, the Historia, the Roman, and the Expugnatio, take the form of narrative histories of a variety of subjects both imaginary and within the author’s living memory, while the fourth, the Policraticus, is a guidebook for princes that uses historical examples to prove the truth of its points. By examining the way that the authors, despite the differences between their works, all use the past to condemn royal policies by implication, this thesis will argue that Anglo-Norman writers in the twelfth century found history-writing a means to criticize reigning kings without facing royal retribution. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Haverford College. Department of History en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.title Concealed Criticism: The Uses of History in Anglo-Norman Literature, 1130-1210 en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.rights.access Open Access

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