« Azincourt or Agincourt : Remembering and Representing the Hundred Years War » (08/28/15; 11/06/15)

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University of Toulouse Jean Jaurès & CUFR Champollion
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« Azincourt or Agincourt : Remembering and Representing the Hundred Years War »

6 November 2015, University of Toulouse, France.

600 years ago, Henry V and his army slaughtered the 'fine fleur de la chevalerie française' during one of the most recounted battle in English history. Mythologised by William Shakespeare's Henry V, the play has become a sounding board for subsequent military conflicts and operations. The young heroic king's brotherly pledge, 'We few, we happy few, we band of brothers', resounded throughout the centuries and inspired authors, directors and politicians. However, what do we really know about the battle of Agincourt? Why is the memory of this battle particularly vivid? How is it perceived whether you call that field Azincourt or Agincourt, whether you are on the French or the English side of the Channel?
This conference wishes to explore historical and literary accounts and narratives of the battle of Agincourt and of the Hundred Years War. These accounts (from the Middle Ages until now) are often contradictory and offer an interesting insight in the process of memorialisation and the instruments it the memory of this conflict was and has become in both domestic and international politics. We wish to investigate the paradigms of fictional transfers of History a,nd the way the historical and fictional accounts have influenced and fashioned national and political prejudices and clichés and participated in the political, social and religious evolution of the belligerents.
This conference will thus favour a dialogue between different research fields (history, literature, military history, diplomatic history, visual arts, theatre and cinema) in order to study the means of creation and transmission of memory, of the formation of war memory and its deformations, and of the part it plays in the construction of states.
The conference also welcomes proposals on the topic of expected or unexpected accounts in French and English chronicles ((Froissard, Hall's Chronicles, Holinshed, Grandes Chroniques de France, L'Arbre des batailles by Honoré Bouvet, Le Livre des faits de Bertrand Du Guesclin). We welcome proposals regarding Franco-English cultural and political relationships at the beginning of the 15th century and also studies in diplomatic and military history. In the latter field we will question the accuracy of the accounts of the battle, of its location, and its role as landmark in military strategic and tactical methods.
We also wish to examine the way the Hundred Years War and more particularly the Battle of Agincourt were perceived and used in the centuries that followed. The literary and iconographic creations related to this military event need to be studied and we invite proposals on fictional and political writings on the Hundred Years War and its stakeholders such as Christine de Pisan's Livre des faits et bonnes mœurs du sage roy Charles V ou le Ditié de Jeanne d'Arc, William Shakespeare's Henry V, Henry VI, Edward III. We also welcome papers on the surge of interest in the 18th and 19th centuries for the conflict in texts such as Décius français ou le Siège de Calais sous Philippe VI de Durosoy (1764), Le Siège de Calais, a tragedy by Dormont de Belloy (1765), or in the opera, L'assedio di Calais (1836), by Gaetano Donizetti et Salvatore Cammarano.
The conference also wishes to examine the representation of soldiers and the evolution of the representation and the perception of chivalry, masculinity in the context of a reappraisal of heroism. Thus we will also consider contemporary dramatic and cinematographic versions of the Hundred Years Wars and the Battle of Agincourt and its sung or unsung heroes (The BBC's The Hollow Crown, Laurence Olivier's and Kenneth Branagh's Henry V, the recent stage adaptations of Shakespeare's Histories and other historical plays).
List of topics (non-exhaustive):
- Literary, iconographic and musical accounts of the Hundred Years War since the Renaissance
- The genres of the historical chronicle and of the historical tragedy and their relationship with memory
- Chivalry and the revision of heroism
- The political and structural consequences of the Hundred Years War: the influence on the vision of government…
- Territory and linguistic hybridism in Henry V and historical tragedies
- Military history: perception of war and of soldiers, evolution of chivalry, myths and strategic realities of sieges and warfare (Agincourt, Harfleur, Calais…)
- Diplomatic relationships: the role of the Duke of Burgundy, the art and the failure of negotiation
- The representation of the emissary during and after the Hundred Years War…

Proposals (300 to 500 words) should be sent by August 28th to Dr Nathalie Rivère de Carles (nrivere@univ-tlse2.fr) and Dr John C. Ford (ford.john@hotmail.com). Confirmations of acceptance will be sent to participants by September 3rd.