My Way to Canossa
Four false narratives,
interwoven into one fiction
David Brendan O'Meara
In 2009, as the world economy was collapsing around him, an American history buff re-enacted the Walk to Canossa by driving the original participants across the Alps in a rented minivan. For the first few days, he managed to keep a blog.
An American telenovela which made no claims to historical accuracy, The Meek Shall Inherit established the posthumous reputation of its protagonist, Bertha of Savoy, and the posthumous career of its author, Damien di Savoia Underwood.
A work with historical content as dubious as its provenance, The Song of Henry celebrated the "masculine victory" of Henry IV at Canossa. Despite, or perhaps because of, its fantastical and overwrought violence, it found audiences of widely varying ideologies in different eras.
Although the author herself preferred not to know who really wrote it, Warrior, Daughter, Saint: the Story of St. Matilda of Canossa offered the "modern Catholic girl" of the 1970s an heroic alternative to secular feminism.