”I will not Stay Silent”: Sovereignty and Textual Identity in Walter of Châtillon’s “Propter Sion Non Tacebo”
The recognition by twelfth-century rulers of the seminal role of literature in the consolidation and self-mythologizing of royal authority—understood at the court of Henry II as it was in the circles around Frederick Barbarossa—was to find curious echoes in the parallel processes of textual colonization and the exercise of self-construction and projection that characterize the work of the most original and accomplished poet of the age, Walter of Châtillon. Indeed, the two strands of Walter’s literary career—as the creator of an epic detailing the career of a warrior whose appetite for new conquest is insatiable, and as the author of febrile and phantasmagoric satires on human corruption—could both be read, in part, as critical commentaries on the exercise of “imperial” notions of power.1 Walter’s writing can be read as formulating an act of textual resistance to the apparently relentless exercise of worldly and ecclesiastical prerogative authority.
KeywordsNational Identity Unfamiliar Word Loeb Classical Library Scriptural Text Classical Poetry
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