Multilingual encounters in the late medieval town. Rewriting history in multilingual social and political contexts in late medieval Flanders and Brabant (1380-1500)

01 October 2019 → 30 September 2025
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
No data available
Medieval History Urban History Literary History Cultural History Political History Chronicles Sociolinguistics Multilingualism
Project description

This project deals with the various multilingual social networks in the commercial towns in the County of Flanders and the Duchy of Brabant during the Late Middle Ages (1380-1500). The Burgundian Low Countries were multilingual in their speaking and writing culture. So far, literary and historical scholarship has been rather one-dimensional in its approach towards multilingualism in literature, focusing predominantly on place or cultural context. Bringing social and political (and to a lesser extent cultural and economic) factors into the equation, this project aims to re-evaluate current views on multilingualism in medieval urban literary culture. Chronicles constitute a pre-eminent source to further this end: historiographical sources are prime testimonies of both active and passive multilingualism. The research objectives of this project are twofold. First, it will reconstruct the multilingual writing and reading contexts of late medieval chronicles. Second, it will home in on the political nature of language choice by relating the various social contexts to the chronicles’ contents. Thus, the project will lay bare the interplay of the multifarious aspects shaping the multilingual society in which historiographical texts were being (re)written and read in late medieval Flanders and Brabant.