Benoît Chêne (Saint-Cassien), Embodying the nation: collective identity and queenship under Mary Tudor (1553‒1558)

My presentation aims to provide a brief overview of the representational strategy used by Mary Tudor (1516‒1558) in order to shape the loyalty of her people. Right from the start of her reign in 1553, different types of rituals and a prestigious iconography were deployed to set up an encomiastic discourse focused on her female royal body. Based on a metaphorical and allegorical language, these pompous signs of royal pre-eminence materialized the fact that Mary crystallized in her body all the virtues that brought the harmony, the unity and the concord of the kingdom to perfection. The central argument of my presentation is that the ultimate challenge of Marian’s representational strategy was to raise the queen to the rank of living incarnation of the nation. As such, it offers also a kaleidoscopic reflection of the connection between the rise of gynaecocracy and the fabrication of a collective English identity in mid-sixteenth century. To illustrate this, I will pay a particular attention to the traditional themes of the peace queen, the queen mother and the symbolism of virginity.

photo d'identité Benoît ChêneAprès un parcours universitaire liant histoire et histoire de l’art, Benoît Chêne est guide conférencier. Spécialiste de l’Angleterre du XVIe siècle, il s’intéresse plus particulièrement aux stratégies figuratives et au culte monarchique mis en place sous les Tudors. Dans son mémoire de recherche réalisé sous la direction de Naïma Ghermani, il a mené une étude d’anthropologie historique sur le corps d’Élisabeth Ier, dont il procède actuellement à la réécriture en vue d’une publication.

 

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