Propaganda in Literature: A Study of the Encomium Emmae Reginae and the Writings of Robert of Torigni As Propaganda for Emma of Normandy and the Empress Matilda



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This thesis is a study of the use of propaganda in contemporary histories written about Emma of Normandy and the Empress Matilda. The first source that is studied in depth as propaganda is the Encomium Emmae Reginae, written in the 11th century during the brief reign of Harthacnut in England (1040-1042). The second source that is examined is the writings of Robert of Torigni in the Gesta Normannorum Ducum (GND), written in the 12th century during a period of struggle in England between the Empress Matilda (the daughter of the previous English king, Henry I) and her cousin Stephen of Blois, known as ‘The Anarchy’. The Encomium displays multiple instances of romanticization of the Viking heritage of Emma’s husband, Cnut, and son, Harthacnut, with the intention of solidifying Emma’s control through the rule of her son. Similarly, the writings of Robert of Torigni are suggestive of the intent to create a reputation for the Empress Matilda of a wise and devout woman qualified to affect church matters in England. With both these women the issue of reputation and control, during periods of turmoil and uncertainty, can be seen. This leads to an understanding of the role that propaganda played in the 11th and 12th centuries, which further illuminates the understanding of propaganda today.



Medieval history