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Medievalism: Re-presenting the Middle Ages


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 7
  • Convenor: Mike Bintley
  • Assessment: a 5000-word research essay (100%)

Module description

This module investigates ‘medievalisms’, broadly conceived as post-medieval literary and cultural productions that in various ways respond to medieval thought, endorse medieval attitudes or ideas (or ideas perceived to be medieval), or seek to represent aspects of medieval life and culture.

You will be introduced to some of the many ways in which post-medieval cultures have sought to appropriate, adopt and reflect on aspects of medieval cultures in order to understand and influence aspects of their contemporary world, considering a potentially broad range of media from the Early Modern era to the present day. This may include a wide range of post-medieval reflections on, and appropriations of, medieval culture, including but not limited to: literature, translations, visual arts, theatre and drama, film and television, popular and classical music, video games and politics, as well as potentially including discussion of museums and heritage studies, education and social media.

Indicative module syllabus

  • What is Medievalism?
  • Romance and its Afterlives
  • King Arthur and Empire
  • Gothic Fantasy
  • A Horror of the Past: Ghost Stories of M. R. James
  • Translating Trauma in the Exeter Book Elegies
  • Beowulfs in Translation
  • Vikings in New Worlds
  • Romance Revisited
  • Retelling Chaucer

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will:

  • have knowledge of key texts and topics reflecting the development of ideas about medievalism
  • recognise the intellectual, social, religious, political and cultural contexts in which these ideas developed
  • be able to engage with secondary criticism and other forms of evidence
  • have an understanding of current approaches to medievalism.