Medievalisms: Making the Past in the Present


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    Help Privacy Terms. The persistence of medievalism: narrative adventures in contemporary culture AJ Weisl Palgrave Macmillan , While often generous in their assessment of modern renderings of the Middle Ages, Pugh and Weisl have no difficulty criticizing how the period is often recreated or bringing certain medievalisms to task.

    13.07.03, Pugh and Weisl, Medievalisms

    This is an important issue, and the Pugh and Weisl are correct in addressing it because these forms of manipulation occur in historical novels, movies, and television shows. Pugh and Weisl also make an effort to tackle the problems that surround political medievalisms, misunderstood historical axioms, and political missteps, and they firmly denounce groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and adopted and adapted ideas of chivalry and medieval knighthood, which fuel ideological agendas that promote xenophobia, racism, and hatred.

    These difficulties could have been avoided by adding an extra chapter, or by editing areas where information is common or where the subject matter has become redundant. For example, the chapter on literary medievalisms is an overview of information already available in comparative literature classes and medieval and Renaissance academic conferences; therefore, it offers no new insight into the field.

    It is well known that Spenser and Shakespeare considered Chaucer their literary forefather, and that authors continue to try to write themselves out from the shadow of their literary predecessors. While the chapter on literary medievalisms would be more useful if it was expanded or reimagined with some new and innovative material, it could be argued that the extensive examination of Robin Hood and King Arthur at the expense of other areas of medieval history means that information about a folkloric character and a mythic ruler takes up space that could be allotted to examining the modern significance of historically pertinent figures such as Richard I, Edward I, Edward the Black Prince, or Joan of Arc.

    By devoting an entire chapter to how two mythical figures represent the modern conception of medieval masculinities, as well as a chapter dedicated to Arthuriana in film, any in-depth examination of other areas of constructed medievalisms is sacrificed. The chapter on King Arthur and cinematic medievalisms offers an interesting analysis of anachronisms and how they inevitably make their way into all medieval films.

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    This is a shame because for many people who have a passing interest in the Middle Ages, Braveheart and medieval films that claim historical authenticity are often an introduction to a medieval world, and as a result, these films have the capacity to shape perceptions of medieval history. Additionally, due to the popularity of television programs such as Game of Thrones , and The Borgias , and the impending broadcast premier of Vikings , hopefully there will come a time when Pugh, Weisl, and Routledge consider publishing a new edition that includes a tenth chapter dedicated to medievalisms on the small screen.

    The Middle Ages continue to provide ample subject matter that demands to be studied, interpreted, and performed either consciously and unconsciously by people with both deep and passing interests in the historical period. Medievalisms: Making the Past the Present is a significant contribution to the topic of how medievalisms are interpreted and enacted, and although there is room for improvement within the volume, it is a significant contribution to the recurrent question of why and how history influences modern culture.

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    Medievalisms: Making the Past in the Present
    Medievalisms: Making the Past in the Present
    Medievalisms: Making the Past in the Present
    Medievalisms: Making the Past in the Present
    Medievalisms: Making the Past in the Present
    Medievalisms: Making the Past in the Present
    Medievalisms: Making the Past in the Present

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