Recognising the importance of the Middle Ages as a vital point of reference in the construction of national identities, this challenging book examines the remarkable role played by the period in the grand duchy of Luxembourg. This country is representative of the close relationship between historicism and nation-building in modern Europe. Tracing the fortunes of four pivotal figures from their own lifetimes to the present, this book uncovers how they each entered collective memory and came to play a key role in a national narrative of history. The analysis includes the foundation myth of Sigefroid and Melusine, the posthumous career of Countess Ermesinde and King John of Bohemia’s transformation into a national hero.
Borrowing some of its theoretical framework from the study of
lieux de mémoire, this wide-ranging book crosses disciplinary boundaries and addresses not only historical writing, but also literature, the visual arts, and popular culture.
The book discusses principally the iconography and text of a mid 15th century copy of the mystical treatise
Horloge de Sapience in the most sumptuously illuminated ms. known of the text.
Each of the 36 illuminations is discussed in turn, with reference to their pictorial traditions, to the French textual matter and to a unique contemporary commentary, called the
Déclaration des hystoires.
Déclaration is one of the earliest essays in the history of art criticism to survive. The study is rendered useful for teachers and scholars by an English translation of the text of the
Déclaration, which enables the reader to see the illustrations through the eyes of a 15th century critic.