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Studies in Medievalism XVI

Studies in Medievalism XVI: Medievalism in Technology Old and New

Edited by Karl Fugelso
with Carol L. Robinson
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 222
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  • Book Info
    Studies in Medievalism XVI
    Book Description:

    As medievalism is refracted through new media, it is often radically transformed. Yet it inevitably retains at least some common denominators with more traditional responses to the middle ages. This latest volume of Studies in Medievalism explores this phenomenon with a special section on computer games, examining digital echoes of the medieval past in subjects ranging from the sovereign ethics of empire in Star Wars to gender identity in on-line role playing. Medievalism in more conventional venues is also addressed, ranging from early French fairy tales to nineteenth-century neo-Byzantine murals. Great innovation and extraordinary continuity are thus juxtaposed not only within each article but also across the volume as a whole, in yet further testimony to the exceptional flexibility and enduring relevance of medievalism. CONTRIBUTORS: ALICIA C. MONTOYA, ALBERT D. PIONKE, GRETCHEN KREAHLING MCKAY, CHENE HEADY, BRUCE C. BRASINGTON, STEFANO MENGOZZI, CAROL L. ROBINSON, OLIVER M. TRAXEL, AMY S. KAUFMAN, BRENT MOBERLY, KEVIN MOBERLY, LAURYN S. MAYER

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-677-9
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-ix)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. x-xii)
  4. Editorial Note
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    Karl Fugelso
  5. Contes du Style des Troubadours: The Memory of the Medieval in Seventeenth-Century French Fairy Tales
    (pp. 1-24)
    Alicia C. Montoya

    In 1690, a new literary genre was launched in France. The forty-page storyL’Ile de la félicité(The Island of Happiness),¹ incorporated into Marie-Catherine d’Aulnoy’s historical novelL’Histoire d’Hypolite, comte de Duglas, is generally considered to be the first French fairy tale to be published. Although this first fairy tale was not explicitly designated as such, it was soon followed by others that were more ambitious in their attempt to create an autonomous literary genre. In 1697, Charles Perrault published hisHistoires ou contes du temps passé, the collection of eight tales that quickly became the model for the genre...

  6. A Ritual Failure: The Eglinton Tournament, the Victorian Medieval Revival, and Victorian Ritual Culture
    (pp. 25-45)
    Albert D. Pionke

    In its own time the Eglinton Tournament was, and today it remains, one of the most famous failures of the Victorian period.² The range of epithets applied to the event testifies to the unanimity of critical opinion on this point: christened an “absurdity” by one critic;³ a specimen of “medieval mania” by another;⁴ and “the most bizarre manifestation of medievalism in the early years of the Victorian period” by a third;⁵ the tournament has also been labeled “a splendid failure,”⁶ “a fiasco,”⁷ “the greatest folly of the century,”⁸ and – my personal favorite – “the most magnificent abortion that has been witnessed...

  7. An Eastern Medieval Revival: Byzantine Art and Nineteenth-Century French Painting
    (pp. 46-66)
    Gretchen Kreahling McKay

    As the nineteenth century progressed, interest in medieval romance, literature, and art intensified, especially in France.² The reasons for this were varied, but certainly the revival spirit of French Catholicism at mid-century and the ubiquitous search for a deeper spirituality at the end of the century contributed significantly to this attraction to the medieval period.³ In addition, the growing nationalistic fervor in nineteenth-century France encouraged an increased fascination with the French Middle Ages.⁴ While the western Middle Ages were clearly of interest to the nineteenth-century French, the eastern medieval world, specifically Byzantium, was also becoming a topic of great attraction...

  8. “I Am Weary of That Foolish Tale”: Yeats’s Revision of Tennyson’s Idylls and Ideals in “Time and the Witch Vivien”
    (pp. 67-82)
    Chene Heady

    William Butler Yeats’s primary contribution to Arthuriana is his early poem “Time and the Witch Vivien” fromThe Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems(1889). Yeats’s poem explicitly references Tennyson’s idyll “Merlin and Vivien” and purports to relate what happened to Vivien after she imprisoned Merlin. The work can thus fairly be said to constitute a sequel to “Merlin and Vivien.” As “Time and the Witch Vivien” opens, the narcissistic Vivien is contemplating her own beauty and her magical powers but is interrupted by a sound upon her threshold: the approach of Father Time. Vivien mistakes Father Time for an...

  9. The Doughboy Comes to Chartres: Stars and Stripes and the Middle Ages
    (pp. 83-97)
    Bruce C. Brasington

    The following explores references to the Middle Ages in the American Expeditionary Force’s (AEF) newspaper,Stars and Stripes. Recently digitized for the Library of Congress’s website “American Memory,” it is a fresh source for exploring the medievalism of the Great War. From poems praising Joan of Arc to didactic articles on the history of the cities the doughboys were fighting – and dying – to liberate,Stars and Stripeschronicles a distinctively American encounter with the medieval “Old World.”

    Stars and Stripesmerits close reading by students of medievalism. It differs markedly from the elite texts examined by Paul Fussell and others...

  10. Constructing Difference: The Guidonian Hand and the Musical Space of Historical Others
    (pp. 98-122)
    Stefano Mengozzi

    To reconstruct the pre-modern understanding of the fundamentals of music has been a preeminent occupation of music historians at least since Martin Gerbert published a major anthology of medieval music-theory writings in the late eighteenth century.² The earliest comprehensive music histories by John Hawkins and Charles Burney already featured lengthy discussions of medieval and Renaissance conceptualizations of musical space (interval, scale, harmony, counterpoint, etc.).³ Later generations of scholars continued and expanded the systematic study of early musical treatises,de factoestablishing a new musicological discipline – the history of music theory – that until roughly the mid-twentieth century aimed primarily at reconstructing...

  11. Medievalism in Video Games

    • An Introduction to Medievalist Video Games
      (pp. 123-124)
      Carol L. Robinson

      In his 1997 bookCybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature, Espen J. Aarseth argues that the pleasure in reading traditional texts is “the pleasure of the voyeur, safe but impotent.”² The reader cannot affect the outcome of, say, a game in such a text, but neither does he or she run any risk from it. That is to say, thebarbeof the Green Knight’s sword will never threaten the reader’s neck quite as literally as it does that of Sir Gawain in their famous “beheading” game.³

      However, video-game narratives are not traditional texts; they are cybertexts, and they demand a...

    • Medieval and Pseudo-Medieval Elements in Computer Role-Playing Games: Use and Interactivity
      (pp. 125-142)
      Oliver M. Traxel

      The Middle Ages have long served as an inspiration for film and literary works.² However, since the late twentieth century, they have also fueled an ever-growing number of re-enactments and games, especially computer games.³ Some of the latter 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.

      This article explores some of those medieval and pseudo-medieval elements, as well as the types of computer game in which they appear. As the number of these games...

    • Romancing the Game: Magic, Writing, and the Feminine in Neverwinter Nights
      (pp. 143-158)
      Amy S. Kaufman

      Feminist criticism of video games often focuses on their function as a sexist medium, one designed to allow teenage boys to fulfil fantasies of violent empowerment. A majority of the characters with whom the video-game player can identify are male, and when female characters do exist, their avatars are usually hyper-sexualized fantasies of the feminine physique, with a breast-to-waist ratio that would topple any human woman forced to stomp around in the stiletto-heeled boots of her digital sisters.¹ However, now that more female players have emerged as consumers, reviewers, and even designers of video games, companies have begun to reconsider...

    • Revising the Future: The Medieval Self and the Sovereign Ethics of Empire in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
      (pp. 159-183)
      Brent Moberly and Kevin Moberly

      When science-fiction computer games imagine the future, they often do so in medieval terms. Set after the fall of empire, many such games present players with dystopian, science-fictional worlds that invariably appropriate the tropes of the medieval romance. Cities, space stations, and planetary outposts stand as pockets of order and stability, centers of government, religion, culture, and trade that simultaneously represent the remnants of the lost empire and the hopes of the new. Yet, as in medieval romance, these technological Camelots are few and far between. Surrounded on all sides by the sprawling chaos and horror of an encroaching, often...

    • Promises of Monsters: The Rethinking of Gender in MMORPGs
      (pp. 184-204)
      Lauryn S. Mayer

      It is a commonplace to assert that one of medievalism’s greatest virtues lies in its opportunities for the loosening of gender constrictions, and certainly a quick inventory of medievalist texts from the 1980s on seems to bear witness to this phenomenon, as it features females taking up traditionally male roles,³ alternative matriarchal societies,⁴ and the sharp questioning of traditional masculine values.⁵ Yet while these may be refreshing changes from the pale and overtressed maidens of Pre-Raphaelite painting or the vapor-prone women of Gothic novels, celebration of this phenomenon needs to be tempered with caution. Jane Tolmie’s intelligent essay on heroines...

  12. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 205-207)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 208-208)