BRATHAIR 2022.1 – CALL FOR PAPERS
Jean Froissart (c. 1337 – c. 1404), the French chronicler who gained notoriety for portraying the disputes between Plantagenets and Valois kings at the end of the fourteenth-century asserted that to forget, to hide or even to lie about war deeds of those who had them conquered through their own martial prowess was a transgression as outrageous as committing a sin. Hardly a century later, the king’s printer Richard Grafton (1506/7 - 1573) had a good reason to point out that it was indispensable to write down about actions related to war activities: once the names of those who performed them became known, it would be possible to faithfully immortalize their lives through the perpetual evocation of such events to memory. From France to England, the warnings issued by men of that stock highlighted a shared ambition in both kingdoms to ordain the outlines of producing and keeping faithful remembrances about war, allowing contemporary warriors to emulate good deeds provided by combatants of previous times. However, the elaboration of memories related to arms did not restrict itself to a rectilinear process of commemoration and praising of the deeds of those who performed them.
On the one hand, it is a fact that evoking and let past war deeds become known through writing were two of many tools employed to systematize and instruct about commendable behaviours and procedures in the unfolding of military events. Those men and a few women dedicated to recording war through the writing of history, for instance, had their labour delimited by expectations such as assuring the truthfulness of reports and offering common outlines in the process of informing about events narrated by them. As a result, it was fairly usual to mix considerations about the account of warrior practices with the concern in regulating the recommended ways of fighting, not rarely associating the accomplishment of princely lay intents to the will of God.
On the other hand, religious and laymen pointed out to countless deviations in the waging of war, perpetuating to remembrance admonitions about the deleterious ways of combatants. In doing so, they highlighted the evils brought by martial performances sometimes taken as lacking of virtues, where it was not uncommon the attempts to chart the boundaries to the licit uses of arms in order to clarify occasional exaggerations, such as the continuous emphasis on the destruction caused by pillages and the attacks directed against the inermis – the so-called ‘non-combatants’.
Considering this twofold approach, the dossier aims to instigate submissions that consider not only what was understood as meritorious to be registered regarding the protagonists and portrayed actions of conflicts, as well as they might take into account the roles of wisemen who dedicated themselves to ‘weave’ writings that, similarly to shrouds, covered martial action in truthfulness and dignified – or brought shame – to warriors. In view of the fact that reporting and remembering conflicts in which ancestors took place were processes that worked as retaining walls to sustain a universe of intersected thinking on laws, customs and martial practices, it is expected that submissions might scrutinize sets of ideas and values to govern the ways knowledge about war had been organized and transmitted. In short, it is an invitation to the debate on aspects related to the production and dissemination of what was reflected on about the many wars that circumscribed, at the Middle Ages, the relationship between the multiples spaces that would have been named England and France.
Deadline: April, 7th, 2022