Studies in Medievalism XXIV

Studies in Medievalism XXIV: Medievalism on the Margins

Edited by Karl Fugelso
Vincent Ferré
Alicia C. Montoya
Copyright Date: 2015
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 258
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt12879b0
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  • Book Info
    Studies in Medievalism XXIV
    Book Description:

    This volume not only defines medievalism's margins, as well as its role in marginalizing other fields, ideas, people, places, and events, but also provides tools and models for exploring those issues and indicates new subjects to which they might apply. The eight opening essays address the physical marginalizing of medievalism in annotated texts on medieval studies; the marginalism of oneself via medievalism; medievalism's dearth of ecotheory and religious studies; academia's paucity of pop medievalism; and the marginalization of races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, and literary characters in contemporary medievalism. The seven subsequent articles build on this foundation while discussing: the distancing of oneself (and others) during imaginary visits to the Middle Ages; lessons from the margins of Brazilian medievalism; mutual marginalization among factions of Spanish medieval studies; and medievalism in the marginalization of lower socio-economic classes in late-eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Spain, of modern gamers, of contemporary laborers, and of Alfred Austin, a late-nineteenth- and early twentieth-century poet also known as Alfred the Little. In thus investigating the margins of and marginalization via medievalism, the volume affirms their centrality to the field. Karl Fugelso is Professor of Art History at Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland. Contributors: Nadia R. Altschul, Megan Arnott, Jaume Aurell, Juan Gomis Coloma, Elizabeth Emery, Vincent Ferré, Valerie B. Johnson, Alexander L. Kaufman, Erin Felicia Labbie, Vickie Larsen, Kevin Moberly, Brent Moberly, Alicia C. Montoya, Serina Patterson, Jeff Rider, Lindsey Simon-Jones, Richard Utz, Helen Young.

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-483-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Film Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Editorial Note
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    Karl Fugelso
  5. I: Medievalism on the Margins:: Some Perspective(s)
    • Medievalism in the Margins: Paratexts and the Packaging of Medieval French Literature
      (pp. 1-10)
      Elizabeth Emery

      In 1990 Lee Patterson lamented the marginalization of medieval studies, urging colleagues to emphasize its social relevance.¹ Twenty-five years later medievalism – the study of the medieval period and its reception – still hovers at the periphery of academia.² This essay proposes that the scholarly use of paratexts in editions of medieval literature has played a major role in this marginalization.

      The decisions made in publishing editions or excerpts of medieval works are a form of medievalism, revealing what particular editors think about the Middle Ages. What kinds of medieval texts are considered important and for what reasons? How are they reproduced...

    • Medievalism Studies and the Subject of Religion
      (pp. 11-20)
      Richard Utz

      In 2013, Cynthia Cyrus published a monograph entitledReceived Medievalisms: A Cognitive Geography of Viennese Women’s Conventsin Palgrave’s “The New Middle Ages” series.¹ In her study, Cyrus describes and examines the complex cultural history of reception of women’s monastic communities from the Ottoman siege of Vienna in 1529 through the nineteenth century. Focusing mainly on Augustinian, Premonstratensian, Clarissan, Penitent, and Cistercian monastic houses, she investigates an extensive panoply of multimodal references (visual: as in cartographical plans and various pictorial representations; verbal: as in travel literature, topographies, anecdotes, and legends) and fully fledged “foundation stories” (formal histories told to relate...

    • Pop Medievalism
      (pp. 21-30)
      Erin Felicia Labbie

      Medievalism abounds in contemporary culture. One need look no further than theCapital Oneadvertisements in which knights battle the commodity fetish,¹ theAltoids’ billboards commanding consumers to “Get medieval on your mouth,” or Quentin Tarantino’s use of medieval torture as a threat and a paranoid homophobic wish-fulfillment inPulp Fiction(“I’m gonna get medieval on your ass”), which is contextualized and analyzed by Carolyn Dinshaw in her foundational text,Getting Medieval,² to find examples of medievalism in popular culture. Thematically, one of the most common genres in medievalism, Arthuriana, produces narratives that continue to entice viewers and readers of...

    • Ecomedievalism: Applying Ecotheory to Medievalism and Neomedievalism
      (pp. 31-38)
      Valerie B. Johnson

      This essay applies ecocriticism to the study of neomedieval texts, an approach that I term “ecomedievalism.” Ecomedievalism interlaces study of neomedievalisms through the bifurcated lens of ecocriticism and ecomaterialism.¹ Neomedieval texts continually deploy environmental descriptions and language to develop a sense of an authentic medieval setting, part of the worldbuilding process, yet little critical attention is devoted to analyzing these methods from an ecological perspective. Ecocriticism’s rapid theorization has allowed the field to move beyond the political activism that characterized its origins, and now offers an opportunity to begin academic study of the fictional environments in neomedievalisms.² Consequently, this essay...

    • Whiteness and Time: The Once, Present, and Future Race
      (pp. 39-50)
      Helen Young

      Nestled among the concrete, glass, and steel skyscrapers in the central business district of Perth, Western Australia, the mock Tudor frontage of “Ye London Court” is, at first sight, a curious landmark. Completed in 1937, the cobbled pedestrian mall compresses history, time, and place. A plaque at the entrance commemorates 1997 as both the 60th anniversary of the space and the 600th anniversary of the election of Dick Whittington as Lord Mayor of London. “Ye London Court” is just one of the many examples littered throughout the Australian landscape of medievalism being employed to foster connections between the antipodes and...

    • A Desire for Origins: The Marginal Robin Hood of the Later Ballads
      (pp. 51-62)
      Alexander L. Kaufman

      Robin Hood is certainly one of the main figures whom we associate with medieval culture, medievalism, and neomedievalism. With each new age, it seems, there is a new Robin Hood who is quick to adapt to his contemporary surroundings (or, rather, his creators are purposeful in placing the outlaw into a contemporary political and social context, a space in which the outlaw can navigate the uncertain terrain). While Robin and his greenwood world are grounded signifiers of the Middle Ages, Robin Hood, and Robin Hood studies, have been on the periphery, on the margins, of medieval scholarship for a number...

    • Women, Queerness, and Massive Chalice: Medievalism in Participatory Culture
      (pp. 63-74)
      Serina Patterson

      On 30 May 2013, the game studio Double Fine launched a campaign on the crowdsourcing website Kickstarter in order to raise funds for their next project:Massive Chalice, a neomedieval turn-based tactical strategy video game.¹ Unlike a number of other game campaigns on Kickstarter, which often call for pledges close to a project’s release date, Double Fine decided to launch its campaign forMassive Chalicein the pre-production phase of the game’s development, and thereby encourage feedback on the game’s design from the website’s community at large. Double Fine’s invitation to involve backers in shaping the game’s development not only...

    • “Constant inward looking,” Medieval Devotional Literature, and the Concordium-Fruitlands Library
      (pp. 75-88)
      Vickie Larsen

      In 1843 the transcendentalist Amos Bronson Alcott transported James Pierrepont Greaves’ theosophical library from the “Concordium,” an intentional community just outside of London, to “Fruitlands,” his own communal farm outside Harvard, Massachusetts. Henry David Thoreau would laud the collection as a great “cbinet of mystical and theosophic lore.”¹ That cabinet contained, among books on Platonism, alchemy, witchcraft, occultism, veganism, and modern mysticism, three medieval devotional texts: Julian of Norwich’sShewings, Bridget of Sweden’sRevelations, and Thomas à Kempis’Imitation of Christ. The appearance of these three texts in Greaves’ library in the company of Roger Bacon, Cornelius Agrippa, and Paracelsus...

  6. II: Trans-Atlantic Medievalism(s)
    • Speaking of the Middle Ages Today: European and Transatlantic Perspectives
      (pp. 89-92)
      Vincent Ferré and Alicia C. Montoya

      This section of the book originated as a response to several recent developments within the field of medievalism studies. These included, as its most direct catalyst, a conference we organized in July 2010 on “Transatlantic Dialogues/Speaking of the Middle Ages,” at the joint initiative of the U.S.-based group of scholars around the journalStudies in Medievalismand the French-based associationModernités médiévales¹; the three articles included here are based on papers first presented at that conference – as is Jeff Rider’s essay, “The Middle Ages Are within Your Grasp: Motor Neurons, Mirror Neurons, Simulacra, and Imagining the Past.”

      The original conference,...

    • Echoes from the Middle Ages: Tales of Chivalry, Romances, and Nation-building in Spain (1750–1850)
      (pp. 93-114)
      Juan Gomis

      When the printer Antón de Centenera published Gómez Manrique’sRegimiento de príncipesin 1482, he could hardly have imagined that he was creating a new publishing line whose fortune in Spain would extend over four centuries. Since it was only a short work, Centenera used a single sheet for it, producing the first known pliego suelto in Spain: cordel literature was thus inaugurated.² In the first few years,pliegos sueltoswere used only to distribute short works of poetry among the court elite, but in the early sixteenth century astute printers realized the great profits that they could make by...

    • Antiquarianism over Presentism: Reflections on Spanish Medieval Studies
      (pp. 115-138)
      Jaume Aurell

      It has been rightly argued that there is a difference between the historical and the historiographical Middle Ages, this second generally called “medievalism,” that is, the application of medieval models to contemporary needs, and the inspiration provided by the Middle Ages in all forms of postmedieval art and thought.¹ It can also be said, using different words, that modern medieval historians cannot escape (probably theyshouldnot escape) their own context, and they have to describe, analyze, interpret not only what happened in the Middle Ages, but also the projection of what really happened in the past depending on the...

    • Medievalism and the Contemporaneity of the Medieval in Postcolonial Brazil
      (pp. 139-154)
      Nadia R. Altschul

      In recent years the general disregard of our field toward medievalisms outside Europe and the Anglophone world has changed noticeably. Volumes such as the 2009Medievalisms in the Postcolonial World, which Kathleen Davis and I co-edited, as well as Michelle Warren’s 2011 Creole Medievalism , have been fully dedicated to the topic.¹ Others have had at least a section on medievalism outside Europe, such as the papers devoted to “countries without a Middle Ages” inRevista de poética medieval’s special 2008 issue on medievalisms, which was edited by César Domínguez, and the projectLe Moyen Âge vu d’ailleurs, which included...

  7. III: Other Interpretations
    • The Middle Ages Are within Your Grasp: Motor Neurons, Mirror Neurons, Simulacra, and Imagining the Past
      (pp. 155-176)
      Jeff Rider

      Today, the Middle Ages might be conveniently defined as the study of the events and artifacts in Europe (more or less) between 500 and 1500 (more or less) that still survive, and our interactions with them. Countless medieval acts of various kinds have been incorporated, and survive as what Bruno Latour has called “actants,” in our present institutions, artifacts, and gestures, but they are so combined with so many other actants that it is impossible to disentangle the medieval actants from the others, and meaningless to do so, since in these cases their value lies not in their historical difference,...

    • Alfred the Little: Medievalism, Politics, and the Poet Laureate
      (pp. 177-192)
      Megan Arnott

      On 11 January 1896 the literary magazinePunchpublished a cartoon of poet laureate Alfred Austin wearing the classic poet’s garb, complete with sandals and laurels, stretching, grasping for a lyre, which is just out of reach (Fig. 1).The caption reads:

      Alfred the Little . . . “The Queen has been pleased to appoint Alfred Austin, Esq. to be Poet Laureate to Her Majesty” – Daily Papers, January 1, 1896.¹

      Appointed poet laureate in 1896, Austin was a Tory, a supporter of Lord Salisbury, a friend of Queen Victoria, and a very prolific poet. His contemporaries, however, did not consider him...

    • Swords, Sorcery, and Steam: The Industrial Dark Ages in Contemporary Medievalism
      (pp. 193-216)
      Kevin Moberly and Brent Moberly

      Peter Jackson’sThe Desolation of Smaugaffords audiences a rare glimpse of the means of production through which the spectacular wealth of Middle Earth is realized.¹ The second installment of Jackson’sHobbittrilogy, the film culminates in the bowels of the Lonely Mountain as Bilbo and company lead Smaug to an abandoned cavern where the remnants of long-dormant Dwarven industry wait. After tricking Smaug into reigniting the furnaces, Thorin directs Bombur to the bellows and Bilbo to a lever high above the room. At Thorin’s signal, Bilbo sends water surging from a series of sluice gates set into the mouths...

    • Modern-day Ring-givers: MMORPG Guild Cultures and the Influence of the Anglo-Saxon World
      (pp. 217-236)
      Lindsey Simon-Jones

      In modern, massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs), players are creating and challenging normative cultural structures as they establish, sustain, and cultivate new virtual societies. Moreover, many of these games rely heavily on medieval aspects for both their game content and their community frameworks. As Oliver Traxel notes, nearly all MMORPGs include some aspect of the medieval: “Some of the latter [computer games] are grounded in thorough research on the historical circumstances of the Middle Ages, but many more depend on overt fiction from or about the period, and almost all incorporate at least some pseudo-medieval elements.”¹ Thus, it...

  8. Contributors
    (pp. 237-242)
  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 243-245)