Introduction: Now and Then

  • Gail Ashton
  • Daniel T. Kline
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


On March 10, 2012 Robert Hardman’s “How I See It” column for The Daily Mail purported to explore the resurgent division between the UK and Argentina over sovereignty of the Falkland Islands. As ever, the clue was in the title, “The Empire Strikes Back,” itself a striking glimpse of the intersection of popular culture and nation-state politics stirred by British tabloid press. Hardman’s inflammatory rhetoric decried those who, in his view, pander to suggestions that Britain is “behaving like the old imperial power it no longer is.” His hit list included a former Commonwealth president, the Argentinian government, and several celebrities: the US actor and director Sean Penn; a “misquoted” Roger Waters of the band Pink Floyd; and Morrissey, formerly front man of The Smiths who, while performing onstage in Argentina, allegedly declared that the Falkland islands belong “to you”—a statement, Hardman opined, designed to feed an Argentinian sense of outrage as “the plucky victim of British imperialism rather than the beaten bully boy of 1982.”1


Popular Culture Falkland Island Daily Mail Commonwealth President Canterbury Tale 
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    See Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, ed., introduction to The Postcolonial Middle Ages (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2000), 8.Google Scholar
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    Daniel T. Kline, ed., introduction to The Medieval British Literature Handbook (London: Continuum, 2009), 2.Google Scholar
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    Umberto Eco, “Dreaming the Middle Ages,” Travels in Hyperreality: Essays, trans. Willliam Weaver (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1986), 68.Google Scholar
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    Amy Kaufman, “Medieval Unmoored,” Studies in Medievalism 19 (2012): 4.Google Scholar
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    Gail Ashton, Medieval English Romance in Context (London: Continuum, 2010), 132.Google Scholar
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    Richard Utz, “Coming to Terms With Medievalism,” European Journal of English Studies, 15.2 (2011): 101–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Gail Ashton and Daniel T. Kline 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gail Ashton
  • Daniel T. Kline

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