The Middle Ages in Popular Culture: Medievalism and Genre - Student Edition
Note: this is an abridged version of the book with references removed. The complete edition is available on this website.
This fascinating study places multiple genres in dialogue and considers both medievalism and genre to be frameworks from which meaning can be produced. It explores works from a wide range of genres-children's and young adult, historical, cyberpunk, fantasy, science fiction, romance, and crime-and across multiple media-fiction, film, television, video games, and music. The range of media types and genres enable comparison, and the identification of overarching trends, while also allowing comparison of contrasting phenomena. As the first volume to explore the nexus of medievalism and genre across such a wide range of texts, this collection illustrates the fractured ideologies of contemporary popular culture. The Middle Ages are more usually, and often more prominently, aligned with conservative ideologies, for example around gender roles, but the Middle Ages can also be the site of resistance and progressive politics. Exploring the interplay of past and present, and the ways writers and readers work engage with them demonstrates the conscious processes of identity construction at work throughout Western popular culture. The collection also demonstrates that while scholars may have by-and-large abandoned the concept of accuracy when considering contemporary medievalisms, the Middle Ages are widely associated with authenticity, and the authenticity of identity, in the popular imagination; the idea of the real Middle Ages matters, even when historical realities do not. This book will be of interest to scholars of medievalism, popular culture, and genre.