Edited by Anke Bernau and Bettina Bildhauer
hb 9780719077029 01 September 2009 £55 / $84.95
This book examines why and how cinematic representations of the Middle Ages remain a popular, mainstream phenomenon.
Instead of taking the usual approach of focusing on the issue of historical accuracy, this collection explores wider theoretical questions about the ideological, artistic, emotional and financial investments inhering in cinematic renditions of the medieval period. What does it mean to create and watch a ‘medieval film’? What is a medieval film and why are they successful? This is the first work that attempts to answer these questions, drawing, for instance, on film theory, postcolonial theory, cultural studies and the growing body of work on medievalism. Contributors investigate British, German, Italian, Australian, French, Swedish and American film, exploring topics such translation, temporality, film noir, framing and period film – and find the medieval lurking in unexpected corners. In addition it provides in-depth studies of individual films from different countries; these range from The Birth of a Nation to Nosferatu, from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves to Kingdom of Heaven. This interdisciplinary collection should become essential reading for all those interested in cinema’s complex relationship to history.
*Medieval film* will be of part interest to medievalists working in a range of disciplines including literature, history, art history; to scholars working on medievalism; as well as to scholars working on film and in cultural studies. This book will also be of interest to undergraduates at all levels, as well as to postgraduates and to an informed lay enthusiast in film or/and medieval culture.
List of figures
List of contributors
The a-chronology of medieval film (Bettina Bildhauer and Anke Bernau)
1. Cinematic authenticity-effects and medieval art: a paradox (Sarah Salih)
2. Forward into the past: film as a medieval medium (Bettina Bildhauer)
3. A time of translation: linguistic difference and cinematic medievalism (Carol O’Sullivan)
4. ‘Poison to the infant, but tonic to the man’: timing The Birth of a Nation (Anke Bernau)
5. The medieval imaginary in Italian films (Marcia Landy)
6. Towards a theory of medieval film music (Alison Tara Walker)
7. Border skirmishes: weaving around the Bayeux Tapestry and cinema in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves and El Cid (Richard Burt)
8. Medieval noir: anatomy of a metaphor (John Ganim)
9. ‘Medievalism’, the period film and the British past in contemporary cinema (Andrew Higson)
Martha W. Driver, Professor of English at Pace University
Dr Anke Bernau is Lecturer in Medieval Literature and Culture at the University of Manchester. Dr Bettina Bildhauer is Lecturer in German at the University of St. Andrews.