NEO-MEDIEVALISM IN THE MEDIA:Essays on Film, Television, and Electronic Games

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This is a collection of essays that study the contemporary cultural depictions of medievalism. The book attempts to unravel distortions that tend to domesticate the era and represent it as an extension of modern life. Several authors claim that modernity is so radically different to medieval life that we can only view the past as an extension of the present, rather than as radically different. The present distorts, and often politicizes the past, and these essays explore how everything from commercials, and video games, to the war on terror can contain elements of neo-medieval revisionism. Some authors argue that even though nobody alive today has a lived experience of the period, and holding an authentic medieval experience is almost impossible, there seems to be a sort of nostalgia about medieval times that indicates dissatisfaction with contemporary life.


“The wide range of essays on contemporary forms of neo-medievalism lays a foundation for further research into how the Middle Ages have influenced post-medieval culture.”

- Prof. Karl Fugelso,
Towson University

“It is in the sophisticated analysis of the vaguest of medieval scenarios through contemporary media that the most striking virtue of the exciting scholarship in this book can be found.”

- Prof. Richard Utz,
Western Michigan University
(From the Foreword)

"Academics - especially those with little direct knowledge of the media concerned - will find it useful catch-up, and those who do know the field and understand the theoretical perspectives offered will find in it a great deal that is thought-provoking."

- Prof. Tom Shippey,
Saint Louis University

"...recommended to all those who are interested in the intersections between medieval and current popular culture, particularly those scholars and students working on computer games and online environments, chiefly because there is very little scholarship on those topics and the essays in Neomedievalism in the Media are respectable contributions to an emergent field." -- Prof. Carole M. Cusack, The University of Sydney

"... this volume moves us beyond the semiotic critiques of Econian theories and towards a Terry Jones-inspired understanding of the relevance, seriousness, and importance of the Middle Ages. Throughout, this volume shows us how to negotiate the various reconstructions of the Middle Ages in our pervasively mediated twenty-first century. This cultural space is a place in which serious scholarship can and should meet with play-with the amateur enthusiasm and entertainment industry that continually find the Middle Ages a fascinating source of ideas."
Dr. Michael Sarabia,
Montana State University

Table of Contents

Preface: A Moveable Feast: Repositionings of “the Medieval” in Medieval Studies, Medievalism, and Neo-Medievalism by Richard Utz

Introduction: Neomedievalism in a Vortext of Discourse: Film, Television, and Digital Games by Carol L. Robinson

1. Remembering Dismembering: Reading the Violated Body Medievally by Leslie A. Coote

2. NeoMedieval Trauma: The Cinematic Hyperreality of Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales by Pamela Clements

3. The Use of Nature: Representing Religion in Medieval Film by Christopher Roman

4. Neo-Bushido: NeoMedieval Anime and Japanese Essence by Jennifer de Winter

5. “You’re Still Living in the Middle Ages!”: Time Travel in Doctor Who and Pseudo-Historical, Neo-Medieval, Alternate Realities by Dave Rolinson

6. “What do we do? Hop on a Bus to Medieval Times?”: The Use of Medievalism in Television Fiction by Roderick W. McDonald

7. “What’s in your wallet?”: How to Construct an “Authentic” Middle Ages by Alison Tara Walker

8. The New Scriptoria: NeoMedievalism and Online Textual Communities by Lauryn Mayer

9. Gaming with Odin: Myth, Context, and Reconstruction of Hnefa-tafl, an Old Norse Board Game by Leon Wild

10. The Name of the Game: Misuses of Neo-Medievalism in Computerized Role-Playing Games by Clay Kinchen Smith

11. Commodifying the Medieval in Magic Online by Kelly Ann Fitzpatrick

12. Blood Will Out: Genealogy as Destiny in Medieval(ist) Gaming by Amy S. Kaufman and Cory Grewell

13. “For Your Labor I Will Give You Treasure Enough”: Labor and the Third-Estate in Medieval-Themed Role-Playing Games by Kevin Moberly and Brent Moberly

14. Neo-Tolkienism: Plays upon Playing with J.R.R. Tolkien’s Playing With Language by Carol L. Robinson and Pamela Clements

15. “I’m Not Dead Yet!” – Tracing the Pythonesque in Neo-Medievalist Media by Carol L. Robinson

Epilogue: Recreating the Medieval World by Terry Jones

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