Random graphics from SMH presentation
Still busy, but here are a few graphics which I used (and didn’t use) in my paper presentation at the SMH last week in New Orleans. Despite being the last panel on the last day (and me the last speaker), we managed to rustle up about 16 in the audience. Our session was given a Nawlins vibe with a jazz band celebrating St. Patty’s Day outside our window.
I created the above image largely for note-taking purposes (i.e. for future quick reference) while writing the paper. If I’d had more time, I would have simplified it a bit, made it larger somehow, and added a symbol key. Oh well.
The following image didn’t make the cut, but I was curious about the popularity of several famous English battles. I’m somewhat surprised by the staying power of Blenheim, particularly compared to Agincourt. (Normal Google Books caveats apply.)
More thoughts on the SMH conference in the future. But now I have to write a paper for the Performances of Peace conference (Utrecht) next month – there I’ll be focusing on the debate over Marlborough’s generalship during the Spanish Succession:
In modern Britain, the War of the Spanish Succession is the best known of Louis XIV’s wars because it provided a stage for one of the greatest commanders in its history. The Peace of Utrecht signaled Britain’s arrival as a great power, making it easy to attribute national success to the personal efforts of John Churchill, first Duke of Marlborough. Then, as now, Marlborough’s military successes were endlessly celebrated. Battlefield victories such as Blenheim and Ramillies were reenacted in the English press, with the laudatory literature praising his military performance in newsletter, sermon, ode and ballad. Such adulation was not, however, unanimous. Not only were there competing criteria with which one could define war heroes, but elevation to the pantheon of the Great Captains of History could quickly change with the ebb and flow of military events. The politicized environment of late Stuart England further complicated Marlborough’s status as undisputed war hero.
My paper will examine the late Stuart understanding of what a Great Captain was, how he was defined, what he wasn’t, and how the Duke of Marlborough in particular was viewed across the span of the Spanish Succession war. It will begin with a brief summary of how English publications of the late 17th century defined vigorous Great Captains from past history (Ancient, medieval and early modern). A second section will succinctly discuss the transition within the English press from an appreciative view of prudential French generalship in the 1670s to a negative one by the Spanish Succession, as well as a brief overview of how William III’s generalship was presented. With this necessary context of two competing criteria for Great Captain status, the majority of the paper will focus on the competing depictions of Marlborough as war hero versus his portrayal as mercenary captain.
And there’s that little West Point textbook chapter too. Idle hands…