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King Harold II and the Bayeux Tapestry (Pubns Manchester Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies) [Hardcover]

Gale R. Owen-Crocker
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: £50.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

15 Jun 2005 Pubns Manchester Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies (Book 3)
Harold II is chiefly remembered today, perhaps unfairly, for the brevity of his reign and his death at the Battle of Hastings. The papers collected here seek to shed new light on the man and his milieu before and after that climax. They explore the long career and the dynastic network behind Harold Godwinesson's accession on the death of King Edward the Confessor in January 1066, looking in particular at the important questions as to whether Harold's kingship was opportunist or long-planned; a usurpation or a legitimate succession in terms of his Anglo-Scandinavian kinships? They also examine the posthumous legends that Harold survived Hastings and lived on as a religious recluse. The essays in the second part of the volume focus on the Bayeux Tapestry, bringing out the small details which would have resonated significantly for contemporary audiences, both Norman and English, to suggest how they judged Harold and the other players in the succession drama of 1066. Other aspects of the Tapestry are also covered: the possible patron and locations the Tapestry was produced for; where and how it was designed; and the various sources - artistic and real - employed by the artist. Contributors: H.E.J. Cowdrey, Nicholas J. Higham, Ian Howard, Gillian Fellows-Jensen, Stephen Matthews, S.L. Keefer, Gale R. Owen-Crocker, Chris Henige, Catherine Karkov, Shirley Ann Brown, C.R. Hart, Michael Lewis. GALE OWEN-CROCKER is Professor of Anglo-Saxon Culture at the University of Manchester.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 214 pages
  • Publisher: Boydell Press (15 Jun 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843831244
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843831242
  • Product Dimensions: 24.2 x 16.2 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,065,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Gives a thorough sampling of current thinking on a range of relevant issues. THE YEAR'S WORK IN ENGLISH STUDIES A useful collection of papers (and) a welcome contribution to the range of scholarship on the Bayeux Tapestry and a much-needed assessment of Harold's brief reign in its own right. MEDIEVAL ARCHAEOLOGY

About the Author

Gale R. Owen-Crocker is Professor of Anglo-Saxon Culture at the University of Manchester.

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
"King Harold II and the Bayeux Tapestry", edited by Gale R. Owen-Crocker, is a collection of 12 miscellaneous articles by 11 historians, all (as the title might suggest) concerning two of the most famous subjects of the Norman Conquest: firstly, the ill-fated King of England, Harold II Godwineson, killed at Hastings; and secondly, the Bayeux Tapestry, commissioned and created in the aftermath of the invasion to depict the events of that crucial year in English history, 1066.

The first part of the book (pp. 19-73), on King Harold II, contains four articles: 'The Construction of Kingship' by N.J. Higham; 'A Throne-worthy King' by Ian Howard; 'The Myth of Harold II's Survival in the Scandinavian Sources' by Gillian Fellows-Jensen; and 'The Content and Construction of the Vita Haroldi' by Stephen Matthews. The first two of these look at Harold's rise to the throne - asking whether it was an opportunistic move or one long-planned - and debate the legitimacy of his kingship as it might have been viewed by his English contemporaries. The third and fourth articles discuss the survival legends that emerged in the years following Harold's death at Hastings, and chart how they developed over time in both English and Icelandic traditions.

The second and significantly larger part of the book (pp. 93-194) contains seven articles devoted to the Bayeux Tapestry. These discuss a wide range of issues, including the Tapestry's depiction of horses (Sarah Larratt Keefer), how it may originally have been displayed (2 articles: Gale R. Owen-Crocker and Chris Henige), gender issues (Catherine E. Karkov), its use of allegorical imagery (Shirley Ann Brown), its relation to other forms of contemporary pictorial art (Cyril Hart), and what it can tell us about 11th-century material culture (Michael Lewis).
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and well-argued - a fascinating collection of articles 21 April 2008
By The Wanderer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"King Harold II and the Bayeux Tapestry", edited by Gale R. Owen-Crocker, is a collection of 12 miscellaneous articles by 11 historians, all (as the title might suggest) concerning two of the most famous subjects of the Norman Conquest: firstly, the ill-fated King of England, Harold II Godwineson, killed at Hastings; and secondly, the Bayeux Tapestry, commissioned and created in the aftermath of the invasion to depict the events of that crucial year in English history, 1066.

The first part of the book (pp. 19-73), on King Harold II, contains four articles: 'The Construction of Kingship' by N.J. Higham; 'A Throne-worthy King' by Ian Howard; 'The Myth of Harold II's Survival in the Scandinavian Sources' by Gillian Fellows-Jensen; and 'The Content and Construction of the Vita Haroldi' by Stephen Matthews. The first two of these look at Harold's rise to the throne - asking whether it was an opportunistic move or one long-planned - and debate the legitimacy of his kingship as it might have been viewed by his English contemporaries. The third and fourth articles discuss the survival legends that emerged in the years following Harold's death at Hastings, and chart how they developed over time in both English and Icelandic traditions.

The second and significantly larger part of the book (pp. 93-194) contains seven articles devoted to the Bayeux Tapestry. These discuss a wide range of issues, including the Tapestry's depiction of horses (Sarah Larratt Keefer), how it may originally have been displayed (2 articles: Gale R. Owen-Crocker and Chris Henige), gender issues (Catherine E. Karkov), its use of allegorical imagery (Shirley Ann Brown), its relation to other forms of contemporary pictorial art (Cyril Hart), and what it can tell us about 11th-century material culture (Michael Lewis). Also included are 16 pages of black-and-white plates reproducing key sections of the Bayeux Tapestry - in particular those referred to in the book.

Each of the 12 articles are argued well and are consistently and thoroughly footnoted, making it possible to follow up some of the interesting points made. I found this book of great value when researching for my undergraduate dissertation on King Harold. However, it is expensive - largely because it is an academic book not intended for the mass market - and as a result it may be worth purchasing only if you have a deep-seated interest in the Norman Conquest. Certainly a good knowledge of the period is assumed; some awareness of the main primary sources is also helpful. For a more general overview of the period I would recommend "The Godwins" by Frank Barlow, or for the Norman view of events, "William the Conqueror" by David C. Douglas.

Nevertheless, "King Harold II and the Bayeux Tapestry" is a fine collection of articles, filled with many well-written and thought-provoking arguments. Easily recommended for any serious scholar of the Norman Conquest.
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