Premodern Marriage Diplomacy: A Cultural History


ACLS Fellowship Program




This project investigates the centrality of interdynastic marriage in European peacemaking from the late Middle Ages to the end of the seventeenth century. It first examines the literary and religious culture that turned marriage into a possible means of allaying violence. It then assesses the international society such marriages created in terms of shared values, beliefs, aesthetics, and cultural practices. Chapters on medieval chronicles and romances; Renaissance pastoral; Shakespeare, Racine and Corneille; and the first European novels address the roles interdynastic marriages created for women as brides, negotiators, and bearers of their families’ aggression. Later chapters examine the marriage system's erosion in the wake of nationalist suspicions of foreign alliances.