TitleContemporary Uses of the Medieval
Date/TimeThursday 7 July 2022: 09.00-10.30
OrganiserIMC Programming Committee
Moderator/ChairAlaric Hall, Institute for Medieval Studies / School of English, University of Leeds
Paper 1533-a Ornamental Borders, Imperial Afterlives
(Language: English)
Jennifer Rabedeau, Department of Literatures in English, Cornell University
Index Terms: Bibliography; Manuscripts and Palaeography; Medievalism and Antiquarianism
Paper 1533-b Appropriating Finland: Nationalist Asatru and the Nordic Countries
(Language: English)
Kristina Hildebrand, School of Education, Humanities & Social Sciences, Högskolan i Halmstad
Index Terms: Medievalism and Antiquarianism; Pagan Religions
Paper 1533-c 'Unquiet Soul': Republican Ghosts and Medievalist Hauntings in Seamus Heaney
(Language: English)
Francesca Petrizzo, School of Humanities, University of Glasgow / Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds
Index Terms: Language and Literature - Other; Medievalism and Antiquarianism
AbstractPaper -a:
How did the borders of medieval manuscripts participate in consolidating the British Empire? To answer this question, this paper attends to William Morris's illuminated and printed borders - and evaluates the medieval sources for his designs. I argue that Morris' borders simultaneously consolidated national identity around a purportedly local medieval past while offering strategies for managing foreignness, both within and beyond the boundaries of the empire. Once we understand the mechanisms whereby ornamental borders mediated between the medieval past and the modern empire, we are in a better position to reevaluate the imperial legacies of medieval manuscripts.

Paper -b:
Contemporary asatru believers who also belong to nationalist groups often perceive the Nordic countries as the homeland of their faith. This is largely uncontroversial for the Scandinavian countries and Iceland, but the inclusion of Finland is not as obvious. Many of these believers express a strong desire to include Finland in their religious and nationalist sphere, regardless of the evidence of the Finnish pre-Christian religion: presumably this is connected to a notable nostalgia for the medieval (and later) Swedish-Finnish union. This paper discusses the attempts to circumvent borders in order to claim Finland as Scandinavian in language and religion.

Paper -c:
20th-century Irish poet Seamus Heaney is well-known for his close engagement with the medieval literary canon through translation, rewriting, and inspiration. This paper focuses on the way Heaney used medievalising themes and texts to negotiate his relationship with the politics of his native Northern Ireland during the Troubles. In particular, the paper seeks to show how carefully deployed medievalism was fundamental in mediating the relationship between Heaney, a lifelong nationalist who did not support the armed struggle, and the memory of the Irish republican dead who belonged to his community, and laid uncomfortable claims on his poetry and political engagement.