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Title: The rise and fall of British Crusader medievalism, c.1825-1945
Author: Horswell, Michael John
ISNI:       0000 0004 8499 2771
Awarding Body: Royal Holloway, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2016
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Using the lenses of collective memory and medievalism, this study examines the rise and fall of crusader medievalism in Britain over one hundred and twenty years from the publication of Sir Walter Scott's famous novel set in the Third Crusade, The Talisman (1825), to the end of the Second World War. Emphasising the use of the past to a given present it asks why, how and by whom the crusades and ideas of crusading were employed in the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth centuries. Tyerman has traced the development of crusade historiography into the twentieth century while the foundational work of Siberry, Knobler and Phillips has established the popularity and utility of the crusades in Britain and Europe. The political developments of the nineteenth century, and the increased exposure of the British to the Holy Land, led to an explosion of interest in the crusades. With its depiction in a plethora of forms, from literature and art to plays and opera, crusader medievalism became common currency. The crusades were potent because they could encompass the prevalent cultural strands of late Victorian Britain (Romantic medievalism; imperial militarism; 'muscular' Christianity; and chivalry) singly or in combination. Crusader medievalism, therefore, enjoyed a symbiotic relationship with this late Victorian culture which provided it with a fertile ground to grow in; it, in turn, strengthened and propagated it. It has been suggested that this cultural system was destroyed by exposure to the realities of modern, mechanical warfare experienced during the First World War. However, the examples of crusader medievalism considered here - from the 1914- 18 conflict, the interwar years and the Second World War - illustrate both the continuing versatility of a prewar symbol, and its demise by 1945. Ultimately, crusader medievalism could not bridge the cultural shifts of 1914-45 and remain coherently resonant for the British.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: crusader medievalism ; crusades ; crusading ; medievalism ; British imperialism ; Most Noble Order of Crusaders ; First World War ; Second World War ; interwar years ; Romantic revival ; medieval revival ; chivalry ; muscular Christianity