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Studies in Medievalism XX

Studies in Medievalism XX: Defining Neomedievalism(s) II

Edited by Karl Fugelso
Volume: 20
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 216
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  • Book Info
    Studies in Medievalism XX
    Book Description:

    Following on from previous issues, this volume continues to explore definitions of neomedievalism and its relationship to traditional medievalism. In four essays that open the volume, Harry Brown, Kelly Ann Fitzpatrick, David W. Marshall, and Nils Holger Petersen underscore the elusive nature of distinctions between the two fields, particularly when assessing contemporary film, music, and electronic media. Seven articles then test the need for these distinctions, on subject matter ranging from Sir Walter Scott as a historian; M. E. Braddon's gendered medievalism; friendship models in Mary Elizabeth Haweis's Chaucer for Children; Jorge Luis Borges's Northern interests; medieval practices in Ellis Peters's Cadfael novels; innovative exhibits at the Museum of Wolframs-Eschenbach; and Celtic patterns in modern tattoos. Theory and practice are thus juxtaposed once again in a volume that is certain to fuel a central debate in not one but two of the fastest growing areas of academia. Contributors: Harry Brown, KellyAnn Fitzpatrick, David W. Marshall, Nils Holger Petersen, Mark B. Spencer, Megan L. Morris, Karla Knutson, Vladimir Brljak, Alan T. Gaylord, Alexandra Sterling-Hellenbrand, Maggie M. Williams.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-952-7
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Editorial Note
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  4. I: Defining Neomedievalism(s) II:: Some More Perspective(s)

    • Baphomet Incorporated: A Case Study in Neomedievalism
      (pp. 1-10)
      Harry Brown

      Recently Studies in Medievalism (SiM) has dedicated itself not only to reassessing the meaning of medievalism but also to defining the emergent field of neomedievalism. In their effort to distinguish neomedievalism as a new mode of expression qualitatively distinct from previous medievalisms, Carol Robinson and Pamela Clements, along with several of the contributors to SiM 19, have identified what they find to be the most salient features of neomedievalism. Most significantly, they argue, neomedievalism severs itself from history, often with conscious irony and anachronism, producing works refracted through the lenses of previous medievalisms rather than rooted in a real sense...

    • (Re)producing (Neo)medievalism
      (pp. 11-20)
      KellyAnn Fitzpatrick

      If medievalism remains, as Gwendolyn A. Morgan says, “somewhat slippery,” then neomedievalism is outright ephemeral.¹ If a survey of recent scholarship on the topic is any indication, neomedievalism manages all at once to create a “hyperreality” more real than reality itself and to carve out its living in the furtive and ravenous consumption of mass-produced commodities, yet also floats disembodied above a sea of already constituted academic disciplines waiting to be formed into something solid and publishable/ ten(ur)able.²

      This ephemerality is perhaps most evident in the contradicting conclusions that recent scholarship has forwarded in regards to the relationship of neomedievalism...

    • Neomedievalism, Identification, and the Haze of Medievalisms
      (pp. 21-34)
      David W. Marshall

      The opening of Tom Shippey’s article “Medievalisms and Why They Matter” highlights the persistent confusion of meanings that surrounds the definition of this field of study.¹ Because of that haze, the last two years have been a significant moment for medievalism as an area of academic investigation. In the decades following Leslie Workman’s inception of the journal, we have come to see just how profoundly varied different forms of medievalism are, necessitating some reevaluation of how we approach our subject. With two issues of Studies in Medievalism dedicated to “defining medievalism(s)” (volumes 17 and 18) and another issue exploring the...

    • Medieval Resurfacings, Old and New
      (pp. 35-42)
      Nils Holger Petersen

      The purpose of this essay is to respond to recent attempts to define the notion of neomedievalism as distinct from (more traditional) medievalism. In the following I shall try to raise questions concerning categories of medievalism and concerning the general historiography of the Middle Ages.

      To begin with, I shall reconsider the well-known definition (or characterization) of medievalism given by Leslie Workman, focusing in particular on a specific formulation to which several authors in the discussions published in volumes of Studies in Medievalism during the last few years have referred. In its briefest form, Workman’s definition states that “Medievalism is...

  5. II: (Neo-)Medievalist Interpretations

    • Quentin Durward and Louis XI: Sir Walter Scott as Historian
      (pp. 43-60)
      Mark B. Spencer

      Discussion of Sir Walter Scott’s work as a historian recreating the past in his novels has long been a staple of Scott scholarship, but it usually focuses on his treatment of large historical themes, such as the transition from agrarian feudalism to the modern industrial state, as argued by Georg Lukács in his seminal study of the historical novel.¹ Critics have also frequently claimed that the novels set in the relatively recent past of his native Scotland are generally stronger than the medieval tales, and Ian Duncan has recently focused on these to argue that they constitute a major moment...

    • Chivalric Terrors: The Gendered Perils of Medievalism in M. E. Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret
      (pp. 61-78)
      Megan L. Morris

      At the end of the cattle-lined avenue that led to Audley Court, according to the narrator of Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret, stood “an old arch and a clock tower, with a stupid, bewildering clock, which had only one hand – and which jumped straight from one hour to the next – and was therefore always in extremes” (43). Standing as it did at the entrance to a house that had been continuously constructed from medieval times to the present, the clock serves as a physical symbol of the visitor’s entrance into an alternate, if indeterminate, temporal zone. Both the tower...

    • “Lessons Fairer than Flowers”: Mary Eliza Haweis’s Chaucer for Children and Models of Friendship
      (pp. 79-98)
      Karla Knutson

      Victorian medievalism constructed the Middle Ages as a simpler time in contrast to the increasingly industrial society of nineteenth-century England, a period often characterized by social and economic disorder.¹ “Simpler,” however, held ambivalent meanings, indicating not only an idealization of the Middle Ages as “a period of faith, order, joy, munificence, and creativity”² but also condemnation of its crude, unrefined culture. Literary discourses reflected this construction, as writers and critics spoke of the Middle Ages as the infancy of the English nation and their present as its maturity.³ These discourses are evident in the lengthy history of Geoffrey Chaucer’s reception...

    • Borges and the North
      (pp. 99-128)
      Vladimir Brljak

      Jorge Luis Borges’s affair with the Boreal Muse is no secret. The precise beginning of this affair, however, the chronology of its subsequent development, the number and nature of its plentiful and diversiform progeny, its place in the work of one of the twentieth century’s major writers, its significance in understanding that century’s interpretations and uses of the medieval past – these are all matters that have thus far received relatively little attention from Borgesians and medievalists alike.² In the absence of scholarship, fables thrive. Indeed, it might seem that one can actually point to a precise year, a key one...

    • O Rare Ellis Peters: Two Rules for Medieval Murder
      (pp. 129-146)
      Alan T. Gaylord

      Edith Pargeter, a professional writer of copious invention and range with more than fifty novels to her credit, invented the nom de plume of Ellis Peters primarily for the writing of mysteries. Her first ten featured the English policeman, Inspector Felse, and his family; but the eleventh, A Morbid Taste for Bones, published in London in 1977, introduced a new kind of investigator: Cadfael ap Meilyr ap Dafydd, a twelfth-century monk in an abbey in Shrewsbury, in Shropshire on the Welsh borders. She never called it a “project of medievalism,” but that is what it was.

      One must begin, and...

    • Performing Medieval Literature and/as History: The Museum of Wolframs-Eschenbach
      (pp. 147-170)
      Alexandra Sterling-Hellenbrand

      In his address at the official opening of the Wolframs-Eschenbach Museum in January 1995, the author Adolf Muschg called the museum a “Guckkasten in die Unerschöpflichkeit eines Universums der Kunst und […] Spielplatz für Menschenphantasien” (“a peepshow into the inexhaustibility of an artistic universe […] a playground for human fantasies”).¹ The review in Die Zeit called the museum, which was the result of five years of planning in a joint effort between state and regional governments, a “Mini-Gesamtkunstwerk”; the museum designers had created “einen spirituellen Erlebnisraum, eine Zauberbude und Lesekammer, bestem 68er Geist entsprungen, ein Literaturmuseum eigener Art” (“a spiritual...

    • Celtic Tattoos: Ancient, Medieval, and Postmodern
      (pp. 171-190)
      Maggie M. Williams

      In the biographical section of her website, the contemporary Celtic tattoo artist Pat Fish writes:

      On many pilgrimages to Celtic lands I have researched the manuscripts, tramped through muddy fields to see standing stones and Neolithic monuments, and spent many an hour in deserted graveyards with charcoal and paper, taking rubbings from high crosses. Everywhere I see patterns and motifs that suggest themselves as ways to embellish the human body […]. It is my fervent wish to be granted many more years in which to explore the possibilities for translating Celtic and Pictish art into skin.¹

      This intimate description expresses...

  6. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 191-194)
  7. Back Matter
    (pp. 195-197)