Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ReFraMed Histories (Rewriting and (Re-)Framing Memory in Late Medieval Historiography. The Case of Brabant (14th-15th c.))
Reporting period: 2019-09-01 to 2021-08-31
I further dug into Enghien’s biography and the historical, cultural and historiographical context, based on a review of secondary literature, archival inventories, edited and digitized primary sources. Doing so, I reached a better understanding of Enghien’s professional life and network. Additionally, the digital images I made during the first months of the project allowed me to initiate a comparative analysis of several manuscripts of the Livre, chart the macro-structure of the compilation, investigate the use of historiographical sources, and explore the relation of Enghien’s compilation to contemporary Latin and Dutch chronicles, and (translated) literature. In a next phase, these preliminary findings could be further refined.
I presented my findings at local workshops and international conferences, where I talked about the framing of local and regional events in the broader framework of universal chronicles, the interaction between Latin and vernacular historiography, and the role of sequels, multi-text manuscripts and compilations in the dissemination of historiographical narratives. In another presentation, I focused on medieval translation from French into Dutch and discussed the Livre de cronicques in its historical and cultural context. I built further on this work at the Medieval Chronicle conference (July 2021), where I explored the compilation’s focus on virtue, the dukes’ Lotharingian heritage, and their presumed status as the sole surviving representatives of the illustrious bloodline of Charlemagne. At workshops with colleagues at the Leiden Institute for History, I talked about the events that prompted the making of Les croniques des pays de Hollande and considered the Livre des cronicques within the framework of descriptive translation studies.
The research presented in these talks informed important sections about the translation of historiography and cultural transfer in the Low Countries in the translation history of which I was one of the authors ( 'Vertalen in de Nederlanden', 2021). The results of the abovementioned research were also incorporated in the introduction to Francophone Literature in the Low Countries (1200-1600), a volume edited by Alisa van de Haar and myself about the dissemination and reframing of Francophone texts in this multilingual region.
The transfer of knowledge to students and cross-disciplinary collaboration was achieved through the research seminar for MA students that I developed together with Bram Caers. During our weekly meetings, we delved into the material aspects of manuscript transmission, narrative theory and historical discourse analysis, rewriting and the urban context of history writing in the Low Countries. The Wikisource platform in which students brought together links to digitized manuscripts and editions of chronicles of Brabant, Flanders and Holland, together with some of our students' blogposts can be accessed through the project website.
One of the most remarkable conclusions is that material from a 13th-c. universal chronicle written in French for a Hainault patron was included in the compilations to merge parts of Jean d’Enghien’s ‘narrative of the self’ with the dynastic mythology of Brabant. These excerpts presented events from a Hainault perspective and needed more rewriting than the material translated from Dutch sources.
Even though Enghien acknowledged that the Dukes of Burgundy had illustrious forebears in other lands, Charles the Bold is explicitly cast in his role of Duke of Brabant. The compilation combined themes that occupied Dutch chroniclers as well as authors at the Burgundian court such as virtue and the importance of ‘justice’.
The deliberate application of narrative strategies, subtle changes, and occasional commentaries show that one of the compilation's principal purposes was to underline the ties between the Empire and the dukes of Brabant, and the dynasty’s troubled relationship with the Kings of France. This becomes particularly significant in the light of Charles’s royal ambitions and his feud with Louis XI. While the Livre closely followed the dynastic mythology of its 14th-c. Dutch sources, it also spoke to the concerns and aspirations of the Dukes of Burgundy.