This Special Collection argues for the importance of the Angevin period (c. 1154-1216), as analysed in history and depicted in media, to the popularisation of ‘medieval’ archetypes. These images—good kings, bad princes, discontented peasants, heroic outlaws, chivalrous knights, imperious queens, virtuous maids, jolly friars, and saintly bishops—have become emblematic of the Middle Ages. Since the advent of the global turn in medieval studies, humanities scholars have shown that the Middle Ages was a vibrant period during which a heterogeneity of peoples, religions, and ethnicities were in contact. But modern depictions of the medieval world (or ‘medievalisms’), marked frequently as they are by homogenous stereotypes, raise important questions about the grip of the Angevin period on representing the Middle Ages in popular culture. Because medievalisms can be colourful prisms through which anxieties about modern society are mediated, writers, artists, and historians have projected onto the Angevin period their notions about religion, race, nation, class struggle, and ‘traditional’ expressions of gender and sexuality. This collection examines how the Angevin period has remained a fertile site for the popular remembrance of the Middle Ages, offering critical interventions into old and new media that have reaffirmed or subverted ‘medieval’ stereotypes.  

Editors: Esther Liberman Cuenca (Guest Editor)

Representing the Medieval in Popular Culture: Remembering the Angevins

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Special Collections