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Pueri Sunt Pueri

Machismo, Chivalry, and the Aggressive Pastimes of the Medieval Male Youth

Sean McGlynn

Abstract

This article draws on research into medieval childhood to argue that the violence of male youth activities was not simply a result of their age and hormones—“boys will be boys”—but was positively encouraged by society and the state as training for their potential roles in conflicts, for war was all pervasive and all important. The violent games and pastimes of male youths are discussed in light of their relevance to war, as they progress into sports that served as military training. The focus here is on the chivalric tournament, the apogee of such entertainments and a form of medieval war games within a violent sports spectacle. A primary intention of such training was to foster combat primary group cohesion among the male youths preparing to engage in war with its codes of chivalry.

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“To take a wyf”

Marriage, Status, and Moral Conduct in “The Merchant’s Tale”

Natalie Hanna

Abstract

Across the eighteen Canterbury Tales that deal in some way with marriage, the language of “The Merchant’s Tale” is most concerned with the role of a “wyf” and a concept of “taking” a wife. By contrast, the text appears to show little concern for the status “housbonde,” but the limited use of the term is in fact a means to scrutinize the correlation between these medieval marital roles. Using a corpus of The Canterbury Tales, this article reveals how Chaucer semantically distinguishes Januarie’s position as one who wishes only to be served by his wife, from “housbondes” that are in partnership with their wives. The study shows that, through terminology and phraseology, Januarie’s status is connected to Walter’s of “The Clerk’s Tale,” to highlight the underlying abusive traits of men who treat marriage as an economical transaction for their own gain, rather than as a union of love.

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Frank Battaglia

Abstract

Early Anglo-Saxon ethnicities are read primarily from jewelry and other metal grave furnishings of women. After a period of funerary observances incorporating other-than-metal signifiers and with differing gender and religious implications, a characteristic suite of accessories, devised on British soil of Scandinavian antecedents, had attained prominence in Anglian areas. The boundary of use of certain sleeve fasteners corresponds to the later southern border of the kingdom of East Anglia. These female cuff-links appear to have marked patrilineal marriages whose high status in an innovative political network consolidated the displacement of long-standing matrilineal traditions among British and Germanic populations. Matrilineal social organizations had characterized the Neolithic Period, when horticulture began and food animals were domesticated. The growth of East Anglian political organization may be traced in a patronymic place-name practice. The kingdom seems to have found in patrilineal social structures a constitutive mechanism.

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The Complete Story of the Galveston Horror

Trauma, History, and the Great Storm of 1900

Andy Horowitz

This article considers the lurid accounts of looting and lynching that circulated after the 1900 Galveston, Texas, hurricane, the deadliest storm in United States history. Previous accounts of the flood have tended to ignore or subsume these stories in narratives of heroic recovery and progress. But Galvestonians' fantasies of racial violence suggest that the specific catastrophe of the flood was part of the ongoing disaster of racial terror in Texas at the turn of the twentieth century. Understanding disaster as a chronic human process rather than an acute wound from nature reveals that, instead of allowing white Galvestonians to transcend their history of violence against African Americans, the storm seemed to authorize them to further enact and reenact the imposition of suffering.

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Federico Finchelstein

Violence defines the global experience of fascism as an ideology, movement, and regime, as well as its subsequent reception after 1945. This article is part of this a transnational trend in the study of fascism examining such violence, but it also proposes to expand it by way of studying its transatlantic repercussions in the postwar period, especially in terms of what I call a “transcontextual history” of trauma and especially for the case of the so-called Argentine Dirty War. I argue there is a need for understanding these transnational dimensions of fascist violence for victims and perpetrators in light of an equally significant transcontextual emphasis on the traumatic fascist genealogies of the Cold War.

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Miraculous Healing for the Warrior Soul

Transforming Fear, Violence, and Shame in Fourteenth-Century Provence

Nicole Archambeau

This article considers the crises of plague, civil war, and mercenary invasion that Provençal communities faced in the years between 1343 and 1363. Canonization inquest testimony reveals that both combatants and noncombatants prayed to the holy woman, Countess Delphine de Puimichel, to heal the spiritual sickness of violence. In their testimonies, witnesses relived moments of crisis when they had used Delphine's special relationship to God to escape death, fear, and humiliation.

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Noble Ghosts, Empty Graves, and Suppressed Traumas

The Heroic Tale of “Taiyuan's Five Hundred Martyrs” in the Chinese Civil War

Dominic Meng-Hsuan Yang

On 19 February 1951, a state-sponsored funeral took place in north Taipei in which a splendid cenotaph to commemorate the “five hundred martyrs of Taiyuan”— heroic individuals who died defending a distant city in northern China against the Chinese Communist encirclement—was revealed. In the four decades that followed, the Nationalist government on Taiwan built a commemorative cult and a pedagogic enterprise centering on these figures. Yet, the martyrs' epic was a complete fiction, one used by Chiang Kai-shek's regime to erase the history of atrocities and mass displacement in the Chinese civil war. Following Taiwan's democratization in the 1990s, the repressed traumas returned in popular narratives; this recovery tore the hidden wounds wide open. By examining the tale of the five hundred martyrs as both history and metaphor, this article illustrates the importance of political forces in both suppressing and shaping traumatic memories in Taiwan.

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“Our Actions Never Cease to Haunt Us”

Frantz Fanon, Jean-Paul Sartre, and the Violence of the Algerian War

Emma Kuby

This article considers two famous works published in France during the Algerian War and forever after interpretively linked: Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth and Jean-Paul Sartre's Preface to Fanon's book. It argues that yoking together the two texts has distorted key features of each, in particular as they relate to the multiform problem of violence. To overcome a misreading of Fanon's position by Sartre, the analysis presented here uses the under-examined clinical case studies in the final chapter of Wretched to emphasize Fanon's acknowledgment of violence as a source of trauma, not only a means by which trauma is transcended. It then attempts to explain Sartre's reinterpretation of Fanon's message in light of ongoing postwar debates within the French intellectual Left about the revolutionary potential of violence in metropolitan France.

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Yoav Di-Capua

If one practical way to define trauma is to consider it as a chronic inability to access and process catastrophic events, that is, as a systematic and haunting blockage of memory formation and reclamation of past experiences, then historians have an inherent stake in the concept. This basic observation is not new, of course, but until now only historians of the Holocaust have evinced serious and consistent interest in the vast literature on Trauma Studies. Most historians—for example those who work with the distant past, with non-Western societies, or with less extreme historical events—have not had to engage with the historical implications of trauma. In as much as historians use the term, they do so from the lay standpoint that considers trauma as a horrible and tragic man-made event or a natural disaster. In its popular and very elastic usage the event (trauma) and its consequences (always “traumatic”) run the risk of remaining unexplored and largely unexplained, and thus, paradoxically, actually traumatic in the sense of not allowing access to the past. While remaining cognizant of the bland usage of the concept of trauma, the goal of this special issue is to offer a modest commentary on what Trauma Studies can offer to “Other Historians” and, perhaps, on what they can offer in return. The work presented here is of a provisional nature and is the product of a year-long seminar by a diverse group of historians at the Institute of Historical Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and the international conference, “Trauma and History,” that they organized.

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Ronen Steinberg

The Reign of Terror in the French Revolution was a traumatic event, yet the language of trauma was not available to contemporaries of the revolutionary period. This article examines how physicians, revolutionary leaders, and men of letters thought about the effects of the Terror on self and society before the advent of modern trauma-talk. It shows that, in the context of the medical and philosophical theories available at the time, many saw the Terror as a constructive and therapeutic experience. This finding should complicate how historians apply the concept of trauma to account for past experiences. Based on this proposition, this article argues that it is not that the concept of trauma can help us understand the revolutionary era. Rather, it is that the changes brought about by the revolutionary era created the conditions for the emergence of modern trauma theory.