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Title: Nation, England and the French in Thomas Walsingham's Chronica Maiora 1376-1420
Author: Linsley, Christopher
ISNI:       0000 0004 5921 9656
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis examines the construction and presentation of nationhood and national identity in the contemporaneous Chronica Maiora of Thomas Walsingham (covering 1376-1420, written c.1381-1420). Taking as its premise the continued vitality and importance of late medieval English Latin-language texts in the construction of English nationhood, this thesis aims to partially redress the imbalance in modern scholarship of the period toward English-language texts and the resulting neglect of Latin-language works. This thesis argues for the existence of a vibrant and complex form of national identity and sentiment within Walsingham’s chronicle, informed by both contemporary trends of opinion and various scholarly and historiographical traditions. In this Walsingham can be located within a wide-ranging, clerical-monastic, Latinate discourse of late medieval Englishness which has been relatively neglected by modern scholarship. Specifically this thesis examines a number of key issues surrounding Walsingham’s construction of nationhood and English national identity. First the definitions of nationhood found in the Chronica are analysed, seeking to unpick Walsingham’s underlying beliefs and assumptions regarding what constituted a national community. Second Walsingham’s presentation and stereotyping of national groups is examined, in particular the setting-up of ‘Others’ and the significance of the idea of ancient Rome within Walsingham’s construction and glorification of England. Third the treatment of foreigners or ‘aliens’ in the Chronica is discussed, particularly the way in which Walsingham used such individuals as a vehicle with which to reflect upon and critique the English themselves. Throughout the thesis too the ambiguous but important place of the French within Walsingham’s vision of Englishness is examined in depth. In Walsingham’s text the French were not simply an enemy or a straightforward Other but were presented in rather integral but variable or even conflicted ways, reflective of the variable political and cultural position the French occupied for the English in this period.
Supervisor: Taylor, Craig Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available