In De Re Publica Cicero founds the commonwealth on the people’s consent. By this definition, the crux of political action lies both on the necessary acceptance of power and on the means to obtain such acceptance. How can such compliance be expressed? How can it be established through a symbolic representation in the arts and the Belles lettres?
From the 12th century in Portugal to the 16th century in France, the lay power was built in Europe in opposition to the religious power and was based on the development of vernacular tongues adverse to Latin. Princes and kings called writers to their service in order to develop these new manners of speech and to mirror their strength and their glory through these literary achievements. Thanks to the addresses to the monarch, to the miroirs des princes and the mythical representations, the authors and the artists brush an ideal picture of the rule, which can also be expressed by pageantry, music, iconography, architecture and by luxury and display (book of hours, jewellery, tapestries, haute couture).
Patronage becomes a means to establish the rule of the powerful few and to assert their rank and to extol the values of the nobility (liberality and largess). Thus, the writer becomes a necessary tool to record the glory of past feats and to forge the rulers’ legend but at the same time, his prestige and his own proper power to defy time change his status and enable him to partake of a new aristocracy of letters.
The symposium is interdisciplinary and is focused on a large period from the medieval times to the postmodern era. Contributions showing the endurance of the phenomena in democratic societies (royal patronage vs. modern forms of patronage, luxury, new mythologies and symbols of power) are most welcome. Propositions (circa 200 words) will be sent to Professor Marie-Madeleine Castellani (firstname.lastname@example.org) or to Dr. Fiona McIntosh-Varjabédian (email@example.com) before the 28th Feb. 2009. The symposium will be published. Some propositions will be selected for an on-line publication (the selected articles for the on-line publication should be completed before the 30th Oct. 2009).
The on-line papers will help us launch an on-line dictionary on the
representation of great historical figures in the arts and in literature. Articles (either in French or English) on the posterity of a historical figure are encouraged.
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