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  on Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 17.00 p.m.

The Bayeux Tapestry and the Norman Conquest of 1066

Faculty Tower #409


R. Howard Bloch

Yale University

The Bayeux Tapestry, a 230-foot-long embroidered account of the events leading up to the Norman Conquest and the Battle of Hastings, is one of the most spectacular visual and historical documents of the Middle Ages. This lecture will present a history of the Tapestry, from its “rediscovery” in the 18th century, to the German study of it in 1941; various explanations for its date, place, commission, and making; a scroll through its central and marginal images from Harold Godwineson’s first meeting with King Edward the Confessor, to Harold’s disastrous trip to Normandy and capture by Duke William, their joint expedition to Brittany, Harold’s swearing of an oath on relics, to Edward’s death, Harold’s coronation, the building of the Norman fleet, crossing of the English Channel,and the Battle itself—a day of destiny for England, and, in the words of the chronicler Henry of Huntington, “a change in the right hand of God.”

R. Howard Bloch is Sterling Professor of French and Director of the Humanities Program at Yale University, New Haven, U.S.A.

His books include Medieval French Literature and Law (University of California Press, 1977); Etymologies and Genealogies: A Literary Anthropology of the French Middle Ages (University of Chicago Press, 1983; paperback edition 1986); The Scandal of the Fabliaux (University of Chicago Press, 1986); Medieval Misogyny and the Invention of Western Romantic Love (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991); God’s Plagiarist: Being an Account of the Fabulous Industry and Irregular Commerce of the Abbé Migne (Chicago: Chicago Press, 1994); Medievalism and the Modernist Temper: On the Discipline of Medieval Studies, ed. with Stephen Nichols (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996); The Anonymous Marie de France (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003); A Needle in the Right Hand of God: The Norman Conquest of 1066 and the Making and Meaning of the Bayeux Tapestry (New York: Random House, 2006).

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