Appel : « ‘Reges quondam regesque futuri’: Various Aspects of Royal Power in Medieval and Modern Fantasy Literature »
Medieval Fantasy Symposium, Unieście, Poland, 1-4 June 2017
pour le 14 février
Medieval kingship is a complex, multi-layered cultural construct. On the one hand, in its primary sense, it lays emphasis upon the numerous royal duties (moral, political, military etc.) which arise from the very fact of being a king. Hence, despite being a sovereign, he is, at the same time, a person who is, first of all, subject to the law of his realm, one who should use his power solely for the benefit of its inhabitants. Indeed, a “king is he that can hold his own, or else his title is in vain”, claims the elvish prince Maedhros in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Silmarillion. On the other hand, though, there are numerous examples of medieval rulers who often transgress their royal duties to satisfy their exuberant egos. They are the reges horrendi of the biblical Book of Wisdom, the rois maudits from the historical novels of Maurice Druon.
The conference will focus exclusively upon various aspects (cultural, religious, political, intellectual etc.) traditionally associated with kingship. The thematic scope will cover all sorts of texts of undisputedly medieval origin (poems, sagas, chronicles etc.) as well as post-medieval fantasy (including historical fantasy) works written by, amongst others, William Shakespeare, J.R.R. Tolkien, Maurice Druon, George R.R. Martin and Elżbieta Cherezińska. The main themes will include:
- king-making and images of kingship.
- ideology and sacrality of kingship.
- warrior-kings and their knights.
- royal bynames, their significance and meaning.
- noble kings and their accursed counterparts.
- symbolism of crowns, swords and other royal insignia.