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Medievalism and Periodization in Frozen River and The Second Shepherds’ Play: Environment, Class, Miracle

  • Robert S. Sturges
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

Abstract

Must medievalism directly invoke the Middle Ages? Scholars of medievalist films typically think so. Both classic works like Kevin Harty’s The Reel Middle Ages (whose subtitle demonstrates that the author’s concern is exclusively with the representation of medieval Europe)1 and the sophisticated body of scholarship devoted to medievalist film in more recent years almost invariably define the topic in terms of a medieval setting. David W. Marshall, for example, directly suggests that medievalism must indeed ask “how the Middle Ages are invoked … and for what purpose.”2 Lynn T. Ramey and Tison Pugh coin the term “‘medieval’ cinema” to define “modern films depicting the Middle Ages.”3 Bettina Bildhauer has recently contended that what she calls “medieval film” is best understood as a genre, one that consists of films set either “in the European Middle Ages” or, given her interest in the overlap between medievalism and Orientalism, in “the medieval Orient.”4 Laurie A. Finke and Martin B. Shichtman, on the other hand, resist the notion that such films constitute a genre in themselves, and consider two possible ways in which medievalist cinema may draw on different “generic frameworks”: one way is for films such as The Name of the Rose or Monty Python and the Holy Grail to “combine a contemporary genre with a medieval setting,” while the other is to “adapt medieval genres to the medium of film,” as in Rohmer’s Perceval le Gallois.5

Keywords

Social Critique Mobile Home Pakistani Family Christmas Tree Recognizable Signifier 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Kevin J. Harty, The Reel Middle Ages: Films About Medieval Europe (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1999).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    David W. Marshall, “Introduction: The Medievalism of Popular Culture,” in Mass Market Medievalism: Essays on the Middle Ages in Popular Culture, ed. David W. Marshall (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2007), 2.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Tison Pugh and Lynn T. Ramey, “Introduction: Filming the ‘Other’ Middle Ages,” in Race, Class, and Gender in “Medieval” Cinema, ed. Lynn T. Ramey and Tison Pugh (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 1.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bettina Bildhauer, Filming the Middle Ages (London: Reaktion, 2011), 15.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Laurie A. Finke and Martin B. Shichtman, Cinematic Illuminations: The Middle Ages on Film (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010), 40 and 41.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Nickolas Haydock, Movie Medievalism: The Imaginary Middle Ages (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2008), 5.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Both Bildhauer, Filming, 253–59, and François Amy de la Bretèque, L’Imaginaire médiévale dans le cinéma occidental (Paris: Champion, 2004), 1099–1225, provide filmographies devoted to films exhibiting “signs of the medieval.”Google Scholar
  8. 12.
    Susan Aronstein, Hollywood Knights: Arthurian Cinema and the Politics of Nostalgia (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), 1.Google Scholar
  9. 14.
    David John Williams, “Looking at the Middle Ages in the Cinema: An Overview,” Film and History 29.1–2 (1999): 9.Google Scholar
  10. 15.
    Amy de la Bretèque, L’Imaginaire, 19. For another such gesture, see Martha Driver and Sid Ray, “Preface: Hollywood Knights,” in The Medieval Hero on Screen: Representations from Beowulf to Buffy (London: McFarland, 2004), 5–18. This collection as a whole does provide more follow-through.Google Scholar
  11. 16.
    Kathleen Davis, Periodization and Sovereignty: How Ideas of Feudalism and Secularization Govern the Politics of Time (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008), 134.Google Scholar
  12. 17.
    Kathleen Biddick, The Shock of Medievalism (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998), 4. The phrase “hard-edged alterity” is quoted fromGoogle Scholar
  13. Stephen G. Nichols, “Modernism and the Politics of Medieval Studies,” in Medievalism and the Modernist Temper, ed. R. Howard Bloch and Stephen G. Nichols (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), 49.Google Scholar
  14. 18.
    Angela Jane Weisl, The Persistence of Medievalism: Narrative Adventures in Contemporary Culture (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003). On the romance genre of science-fiction, see 143–207; on the relation of modern sports narratives to aspects of medieval religion, see 33–141.Google Scholar
  15. 20.
    Robert S. Sturges, “‘Nerehand nothyng to pay or to take’: Poverty, Labor, and Ideology in Four Towneley Plays,” in Money, Morality, and Culture in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe, ed. Juliann Vitullo and Diane Wolfthal (London: Ashgate Press, 2010), 13–32.Google Scholar
  16. 26.
    Umberto Eco, “Living in the New Middle Ages,” in his Travels in Hyperreality: Essays, trans. William Weaver (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1986), 73–85.Google Scholar
  17. 30.
    Bruce Holsinger, Neomedievalism, Neoconservatism, and the War on Terror (Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press, 2007), 31.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Gail Ashton and Daniel T. Kline 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert S. Sturges

There are no affiliations available

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