Remaking the Middle Ages: The Methods of Cinema and History in Portraying the Medieval World

McFarland
1
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Proposing a fresh theoretical approach to the study of cinematic portrayals of the Middle Ages, this book uses both semiotics and historiography to demonstrate how contemporary filmmakers have attempted to recreate the past in a way that, while largely imagined, is also logical, meaningful, and as truthful as possible. Carrying out this critical approach, the author analyzes a wide range of films depicting the Middle Ages, arguing that most of these films either reflect the past through a series of visual signs (a concept he has called “iconic recreation”) or by comparing the past to a modern equivalent (called “paradigmatic representation”).
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About the author

Andrew B.R. Elliott is a senior lecturer in media and cultural studies at the University of Lincoln in the UK. He has published articles and essays on a wide range of topics and is a contributor to a television documentary on the “real” King Arthur.
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Additional Information

Publisher
McFarland
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Published on
Jan 10, 2014
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Pages
286
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ISBN
9780786461769
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Europe / Medieval
Performing Arts / Film / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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This work offers a theoretical introduction to the portrayal of medievalism in popular film. Employing the techniques of film criticism and theory, it moves beyond the simple identification of error toward a poetics of this type of film, sensitive to both cinema history and to the role these films play in constructing what the author terms the “medieval imaginary.” The opening two chapters introduce the rapidly burgeoning field of medieval film studies, viewed through the lenses of Lacanian psychoanalysis and the Deleuzian philosophy of the time-image. The first chapter explores how a vast array of films (including both auteur cinema and popular movies) contributes to the modern vision of life in the Middle Ages, while the second is concerned with how time itself functions in cinematic representations of the medieval. The remaining five chapters offer detailed considerations of specific examples of representations of medievalism in recent films, including First Knight, A Knight’s Tale, The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, Kingdom of Heaven, King Arthur, Night Watch, and The Da Vinci Code. The book also surveys important benchmarks in the development of Deleuze’s time-image, from classic examples like Bergman’s The Seventh Seal and Kurosawa’s Kagemusha through contemporary popular cinema, in order to trace how movie medievalism constructs images of the multivalence of time in memory and representation. Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.
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