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Title:Inventing the Sacred Nation: Saint Edmund of East Anglia and English Identity in Medieval Text and Image
Author(s):Allen, Lesley
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Barrett, Robert W.
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, Medieval
Literature, English
Abstract:Inventing the Sacred Nation combines the disciplines of art history and literary study to explore how the visual and textual vitae of St. Edmund of East Anglia, ninth-century royal martyr, contribute to a medieval discourse of English national identity. By utilizing St. Edmund as the project's primary lens, I go beyond solely focusing on early nationalism to determine how constructions of this saint are linked to constructions of monastic, lay, and royal identities. St. Edmund's violent death as a result of his defiance of Danish invaders makes him an exceptional model of English royal martyrdom, and the vitae emphasize the king's sacrifice for the land and subjects as much as for his faith. Unlike other saints that represent singular and thus limited forms of sanctity, Edmund embodies positions as both monastic and royal, providing a method to examine the medieval nation through its most powerful entities. Each chapter in my dissertation pinpoints particular vitae and other cultural texts, produced between the tenth and fifteenth centuries, to determine what they suggest about national identity vis-a-vis Edmund, whether it is the creation of a monastic kingship, the retrofitting of events to prophesy English history, the accommodation of a vernacular cult audience, or most significantly, the cultivation of royal identities.
Issue Date:2008
Description:225 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2008.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI3337683
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:2008

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