M. Wendy Hennequin, Tennessee State University
Abstract: This paper proposes that Grendel's mother is represented as a king through idiomatic constructions and her possession of a hall, heirloom sword, and treasure. Her representation as kingly serves plot progression, gives Beowulf a high-status enemy, and explains Grendel's mother's "unqueenly" behavior.
James B. Williams, University of Indianapolis
Abstract: R. I. Moore in The Formation of a Persecuting Society argued that Europe formed a persecuting society in the twelfth century. In this article, the author argues that those origins belong in the ninth century when both the Carolingian rulers and church began to target and regulate the same marginalized groups utilized in Moore's thesis—heretics, Jews, lepers, homosexuals, and loose women.
Steven A. Stofferahn, Indiana State University
Abstract: No early medieval family tree would be complete without its bastards. But despite their ubiquity in noble bloodlines, the history of illegitimate heirs is frequently reduced to the uneven dichotomy between the lucky few who realized dreams of power versus the pitiable many with lives marked by eternal frustration. The combination, however, of an often tumultuous political culture with the presence of hungry aspirants of vaunted ancestry placed bastards in a unique position in the early Middle Ages, allowing at least some of them to take advantage of the flexibility inherent in their status and background. Not bound by the normal constraints of their half-siblings, such figures nonetheless carried within them noble blood, which propelled them to the fore in moments of turmoil. Well-positioned to assume the places of those who fell out of royal favor, whether temporarily through disgrace and exile or permanently through execution, they were a force to be reckoned with. In exploring the ambiguity of bastardy in classical and Germanic society, highlighting the careers of successful Carolingian bastards, and analyzing key moments of transition in early medieval attitudes toward illegitimacy, the essay offers a more nuanced view of bastards taking fuller account of how their special status within royal and aristocratic families made them some of the most potent political figures of the Carolingian empire.
Fraser McNair, University of Cambridge/Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
Abstract: Carolingian kingship was not an all-or-nothing proposition. This article compares three border regions of Charles the Bald’s kingdom, Neustria, Aquitaine and Brittany, all operating at a variety of removes from central authority, examining their rulers to see the extent to which they participated in the aspects of kingships. In doing so, it argues that there was a spectrum of kingship, in which ruler’s status could be higher or lower, partaking of different aspects of regality so as to be only semi-royal.
Cullen J. Chandler, Lycoming College
Abstract: When Charlemagne crossed the Pyrenees into Spain in 778, he sought to extend his dominion over lands and peoples, to expand the realm of Christendom. By no means did he intend to create, over the next two decades, the nucleus of a principality. Yet ultimately, the creation of the Carolingian Spanish March did set the stage for the gradual development of Catalonia over the following two centuries. Frankish might carved a handful of counties out of Muslim-held territory in the eastern Pyrenean region, where the population consisted of Christians labeled as Goths and Hispani. In the context of the ninth and tenth centuries, however, it is quite clear that the Frankish conquest and connection to the monarchy, not a treasured memory of the Visigothic past, was the defining element of the region’s politics and culture.
David Schlosser, Lee University
Abstract: Carolingian writers used Augustine’s De Doctrina Christiana to understand the proper ways to love and order society. This rhetoric is especially clear in the image controversies of the 790s and 820s as these writers addressed foreign thinkers both inside and beyond the Frankish realm.
"Most Evident," or "Most Tricky"? Toward a Methodology for the Paremiological Study of Medieval Literature and Culture
Karl A. E. Persson, Brett Roscoe, Susan E. Deskis, Richard Harris, Brian O'Camb, and Michael Drout
—Adapted From a Panel Discussion Held at the 50th Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, 2015
Abstract: Carolingian kinship was not an all-or-nothing proposition. This article compares three border regions of Charles the Bald’s kingdom, Neustria, Aquitaine and Brittany, all operating at a variety of removes from central authority, examining their rulers to see the extent to which they participated in the aspects of kingships. In doing so, it argues that there was a spectrum of kingship, in which ruler’s status could be higher or lower, partaking of different aspects of regality so as to be only semi-royal.
John Soderberg, University of Minnesota
Bintley, Michael D. J. and Thomas J. T. Williams. Representing Beasts in Early Medieval England and Scandinavia. Reviewed by Timothy Bourns.
Camp, Cynthia Turner. Anglo-Saxon Saints' Lives as History Writing in Late Medieval England. Reviewed by Chantelle Grondin.
Englert, Anton, and Athena Trakadas, eds. 2009. Wulfstan's Voyage: The Baltic Sea Region in the Early Viking Age as Seen from Shipboard and Crumlin-Pedersen, Ole. 2010. Archaeology and the Sea in Scandinavia and Britain: A Personal Account. Reviewed by Craig R. Davis.
Home, Malasree. The Peterborough Version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Rewriting Post-Conquest History. Reviewed by Janne Skaffari.
Kalinke, Marianne E. 2017. Stories Set Forth With Fair Words: The Evolution of Medieval Romance in Iceland. Reviewed by Ingvil Brügger Budal.
Kears, Carl, and James Paz, eds. Medieval Science Fiction. Reviewed by Melissa Ridley Elmes.
Martin, Toby F. The Cruciform Brooch and Anglo-Saxon England. Reviewed by Penelope Walton Rogers.
Pinner, Rebecca. The Cult of St. Edmund in Medieval East Anglia. Reviewed by Jennifer Sisk.
Williamson, Craig. 2017. The Complete Old English Poems. Reviewed by Aaron Hostetter.
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