Session Title

Geoffrey of Monmouth and Wales

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Dept. of Celtic Languages and Literatures, Harvard Univ.

Organizer Name

Georgia Henley

Organizer Affiliation

Harvard Univ.

Presider Name

Georgia Henley

Paper Title 1

Classical Rhetoric and "British" Nationalism in the Historia regum Britanniae

Presenter 1 Name

Victoria Shirley

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Cardiff Univ.

Paper Title 2

Prologues to the Brut y Brenhinedd

Presenter 2 Name

Jacqueline M. Burek

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Univ. of Pennsylvania

Paper Title 3

Geoffrey’s Vita Merlini and Welsh Prophecy

Presenter 3 Name

Michael Faletra

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Reed College

Start Date

14-5-2016 10:00 AM

Session Location

Bernhard 213

Description

Geoffrey of Monmouth has long been heralded for his efforts to construct a legendary history of the Britons, from the fall of Troy to the passage of dominion of Britain to the Anglo-Saxons, in his Historia regum Britanniae, “History of the Kings of Britain.” His political allegiances and motivations for writing, however, remain obscure, perhaps due to a lack of survival of definitive written opinions, or because he wished them to remain so. His surviving works are therefore subject to a great deal of critical interpretation, as scholars apply different readings to the texts in search of pro-Norman, pro-Welsh, anti-English, or ambivalent stances within his writings. This session focuses on his much overlooked relationship to Wales, the country in which his main patron resided, along with the descendants of his history’s protagonists—the Britons. By taking a closer look at Geoffrey’s relationship with Wales, and his immediate reception in Wales, it is possible that more can be gleaned about his own predilections than has previously been possible. This session welcomes papers considering Geoffrey’s ties to Wales, his patrons, his usage of Welsh source material, both oral and written, and the early reception of his work in Wales and the Welsh vernacular. It is thus open to source study, contemporary interpretations of his work, and reception, spanning the past, present, and future of Geoffrey’s work. This session hopes to shed light on the intentions of this very important writer who fundamentally shaped not only the Arthurian canon but also the Welsh and English understanding of history, historical writing, and their shared legendary past.

Georgia Henley

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May 14th, 10:00 AM

Geoffrey of Monmouth and Wales

Bernhard 213

Geoffrey of Monmouth has long been heralded for his efforts to construct a legendary history of the Britons, from the fall of Troy to the passage of dominion of Britain to the Anglo-Saxons, in his Historia regum Britanniae, “History of the Kings of Britain.” His political allegiances and motivations for writing, however, remain obscure, perhaps due to a lack of survival of definitive written opinions, or because he wished them to remain so. His surviving works are therefore subject to a great deal of critical interpretation, as scholars apply different readings to the texts in search of pro-Norman, pro-Welsh, anti-English, or ambivalent stances within his writings. This session focuses on his much overlooked relationship to Wales, the country in which his main patron resided, along with the descendants of his history’s protagonists—the Britons. By taking a closer look at Geoffrey’s relationship with Wales, and his immediate reception in Wales, it is possible that more can be gleaned about his own predilections than has previously been possible. This session welcomes papers considering Geoffrey’s ties to Wales, his patrons, his usage of Welsh source material, both oral and written, and the early reception of his work in Wales and the Welsh vernacular. It is thus open to source study, contemporary interpretations of his work, and reception, spanning the past, present, and future of Geoffrey’s work. This session hopes to shed light on the intentions of this very important writer who fundamentally shaped not only the Arthurian canon but also the Welsh and English understanding of history, historical writing, and their shared legendary past.

Georgia Henley