Barraclough Eleanor Rosamund, Landscape and the semiotics of space in the Íslendingasögur : mapping Norse identity in saga narrative, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2011, (Université de Cambridge)
Birkett Thomas Eric, Ráð Rétt Rúnar : reading the runes in Old English and Old Norse poetry, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2011, (dir. H. O’Donoghue, Université d’Oxford)
Avis Robert John Roy, The social mythology of medieval Icelandic literature, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2011, (dir. H. O’Donoghue, Université d’Oxford)
This thesis argues that the corpus of Old Norse-Icelandic literature which pertains to Iceland contains an intertextual narrative of the formation of Icelandic identity. An analysis of this narrative provides an opportunity to examine the relationship between literature and identity, as well as the potency of the artistic use of the idea of the past. The thesis identifies three salient narratives of communal action which inform the development of a discrete Icelandic identity, and which are examined in turn in the first three chapters of the thesis. The first is the landnám, the process of settlement itself; the second, the origin and evolution of the law; and the third, the assimilation and adaptation of Christianity. Although the roots of these narratives are doubtless historical, the thesis argues that their primary roles in the literature are as social myths, narratives whose literal truth- value is immaterial, but whose cultural symbolism is of overriding importance. The fourth chapter examines the depiction of the Icelander abroad, and uses the idiom of the relationship between þáttr (‘tale’) and surrounding text in the compilation of sagas of Norwegian kings Morkinskinna to consider the wider implications of the relationship between Icelandic and Norwegian identities. Finally, the thesis concludes with an analysis of the role of Sturlunga saga within this intertextual narrative, and its function as a set of narratives mediating between an identity grounded in social autonomy and one grounded in literature. The Íslendingasögur or ‘family sagas’ constitute the core of the thesis’s primary sources, for their subject-matter is focussed on the literary depiction of the Icelandic society under scrutiny. In order to demonstrate a continuity of engagement with ideas of identity across genres, a sample of other Icelandic texts are examined which depict Iceland or Icelanders, especially when in interaction with non-Icelandic characters or polities.
Beaumont Casey Jane, Sanctity, reform and conquest at Barking Abbey c. 950-1100, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2011, (University of Liverpool)
This thesis offers a study of the female monastic house at Barking in Essex during the tenth and eleventh centuries. The survival of a large body of hagiographical literature produced for the nunnery at the end of the eleventh century which includes an account of the translation of the saints Æthelburg, Hildelith and Wulfhild, a Life of St Æthelburg, Lessons of St Hildelith and a Life and translation account of St Wulfhild, here enables an in-depth examination of Barking’s experience of the most disruptive century in England’s medieval history. Indications in the texts that the nunnery was subject to unwelcome intervention by a new Norman episcopacy are discussed in relation to the historiographical debate on Norman treatment of Anglo-Saxon saints and their communities. A theme of resistance to outside interference in the Barking hagiographies is also explored in relation to charter and Domesday evidence which suggest that the house had experienced depletion of their landed resources. But while the Barking hagiographies were produced in the eleventh century, there are elements of them which do not appear to respond to the contexts of that time. For that reason, the thesis will also explore earlier contexts at the nunnery, specifically those of Danish invasion, conquest and rule in the earlier eleventh century. There is also reason to examine the relationship between Barking and the queen, as one of the most striking tales in the Life of Wulfhild explicitly condemns the queen’s interference at the nunnery. Barking’s relationships with other female houses also requires consideration due to assertions in the Life of Wulfuild that Barking formed part of a wider group of royal nunneries. Barking’s links to the nunnery of Horton appear to have been particularly strong, and may indicate a context of relic appropriation in the earlier eleventh century. The form and function of the Barking saints, alongside a consideration of authorship and audience, is also undertaken here in an effort to improve our understanding of the various uses of saints’ cults and hagiography in the late Anglo-Saxon and early Anglo-Norman periods. Ultimately, the texts which celebrate the Barking saints reveal the nunnery’s resistance to outside authority, especially at times of political regime change and church reform. This thesis will demonstrate that the saints of the female monastic house at Barking were employed at various points in the eleventh century to protect the community from encroachment of its resources, interference in its management, and threats to its most valuable assets, that is, the saints Æthelburg, Hildelith and Wulfhild.
Cohen Nicholas, Patristic analogues in Anselm of Canterbury’s Cur Deus Homo, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2011, (dir. S.F. Brown, Boston College)
The Cur Deus Homo (CDH) of Anselm of Canterbury is one of the most well-known and yet controversial works in the Anselmian corpus. Anselm’s audacious effort to prove the necessity of the Incarnation has been met with varying levels of skepticism and critique in the intervening centuries. Critics of Anselm have taken aim particularly at the language that Anselm used in the CDH, commonly asserting that the key terms of the argument were derived primarily from the feudal society that surrounded Anselm as he wrote. The contention is then usually made that Anselm’s usage of such terminology betrays a mindset so entangled in feudalism as to render the whole work ineffective as a work of Christian theology. Only in recent years have serious efforts been made to examine the theological roots of Anselm’s thought process in the CDH. In this work, I examine the language that has been so maligned in recent years and I build on recent trends in Anselm scholarship to argue that his language is not so much feudal as it is scriptural and patristic. By analyzing Anselm’s use of « honor, » « justice, » « debt » and « satisfaction, » I argue that Anselm was more concerned with maintaining consistency with his own work and with scriptural and patristic sources than with the feudal or juridical nature of his social context. I conclude by highlighting the ways in which Anselm accomplished his stated purpose in the CDH and provided a unique perspective on the Incarnation and Atonement that stands on its own as a turning point in the history of Christian theology.
[Source : http://hdl.handle.net/2345/1829]
Bowie, Colette Marie, The daughters of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine: a comparative study of twelfth-century royal women, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2011, (dir. M. Strickland, University of Glasgow)
This thesis compares and contrasts the experiences of the three daughters of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Matilda, Leonor and Joanna all undertook exogamous marriages which cemented dynastic alliances and furthered the political and diplomatic ambitions of their parents. Their later choices with regards religious patronage, as well as the way they and their immediate families were buried, seem to have been influenced by their natal family, suggesting a coherent sense of family consciousness. To discern why this might be the case, an examination of the childhoods of these women has been undertaken, to establish what emotional ties to their natal family may have been formed at this time. The political motivations for their marriages have been analysed, demonstrating the importance of these dynastic alliances, as well as highlighting cultural differences and similarities between the courts of Saxony, Castile, Sicily and the Angevin realm. Dowry and dower portions are important indicators of the power and strength of both their natal and marital families, and give an idea of their access to economic resources which could provide financial means for patronage. The thesis then examines the patronage and dynastic commemorations of Matilda, Leonor and Joanna, in order to discern patterns or parallels. Their possible involvement in the burgeoning cult of Thomas Becket, their patronage of Fontevrault Abbey, the names they gave to their children, and finally where and how they and their immediate families were buried, suggests that all three women were, to varying degrees, able to transplant Angevin family customs to their marital lands. The resulting study, the first of its kind to consider these women in an intergenerational context, advances the hypothesis that there may have been stronger emotional ties within the Angevin family than has previously been allowed for.
[Source : http://theses.gla.ac.uk/3177/]
McLeod Shane H., Migration and acculturation : the impact of the Norse on Eastern England, c. 865-900, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2013, (Université d’Australie-Occidentale)
Rety-Letouzey Catherine, Écrits et gestion du temporel dans une grande abbaye de femmes anglo-normande : la Sainte-Trinité de Caen (XIe-XIIIe siècle), Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2011 (dir. Laurent Feller, Université de Paris I ; David Bates, University of East Anglia)
Cette thèse étudie les pratiques de gestion adoptées par les religieuses de La Trinité de Caen pour administrer leur vaste temporel anglo-normand durant les deux premiers siècles de l’histoire du monastère. Fondée vers 1059 par Guillaume le Conquérant et Mathilde de Flandres, l’Abbaye-aux-Dames a élaboré un cartulaire-censier (fin du XIIe siècle) et une série d’enquêtes (XIIe-XIIIe siècles) sans équivalent parmi les archives normandes, mais , qui s’insèrent Outre-Manche dans un corpus documentaire plus développé, bien connu et étudié. L’interrogation soulevée par la réalisation de ces documents dans cette abbaye normande constitue le point de départ de l’étude, qui explore la question des rapports entretenus entre compétences scripturaires et administratives, et qui tente de restituer les stratégies de gestion mises en place par les religieuses, et plus particulièrement leurs abbesses, durant les XIe-XIIIe siècles. Replacer cette documentation dans son contexte de production, celui d’une grande abbaye de femmes, dirigée par des abbesses puissantes et pleinement insérées dans l’univers des pratiques culturelles et administratives anglo-normandes, permet de mieux appréhender les enjeux de la réalisation des enquêtes et du cartulaire de l’Abbaye-aux-Dames. Comme tout grand seigneur ecclésiastique de cette époque, les abbesses de Caen témoignent d’une attention pointilleuse pour le respect de leurs prérogatives, mais aussi d’une conscience aiguë des réalités économiques, et d’une grande détermination dans leur démarche de préservation du temporel établi et organisé par la reine Mathilde, qui a souhaité être enterrée dans le chœur de l’église abbatiale.
Compte rendu par Isabelle Theiller sur le forum de Tabularia (08/12/2011)