Arthur’s Two Bodies and the Bare Life of the Archives

  • Kathleen Biddick
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


This chapter studies how the History of the Kings of Britain by Geoffrey of Monmouth constitutes a formative moment in the medieval fabrication of the king’s two bodies and shows how contemporary archival practices were intrinsic to such political-theological invention. It also considers archives of trauma as conceptualized in mid-twelfth century Jewish notions of archival disciplines.

Truly the Jew is able to have nothing which belongs to himself, because whatever he acquires is not for himself but for the king, because they do not live for themselves but for others and so they acquire from others and not for themselves.1

[Iudaeus vero nihil proprium habere potest, quia quicquid acquirit non sibi acquirit sed regi, quia non vivunt sibi ipsis sed aliis et sic aliis acquirunt et non sibi ipsis.]


Twelfth Century Bare Life Pipe Roll Archival Project Archive Fever 
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Copyright information

© Jeffrey Jerome Cohen 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathleen Biddick

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