• “Provides information on the daily lives, culture, history, and society of the Icelanders in a clear and well-structured fashion that invites and informs modern readers. The 13 chapters are concise, and clearly laid out sections allow readers to review specific themes or read the work as a whole. Using both literary and archaeological sources, Short presents a detailed, succinct, and informative overview of Icelanders of the saga age as well as the sagas themselves. Readers are enticed into further exploration of Viking–age Iceland with the inclusion of detailed chapter notes and recommendations for further readings. This useful introduction to the Viking age is an essential companion to the medieval narratives…. The author’s in-depth research makes this a compelling, informative addition to almost any collection dealing with the sagas or the Viking age. Highly recommended. General and academic collections, all levels.”—Choice
• “Informative…Short has done an excellent job…most interesting…I unhesitatingly recommend this book to anyone with even a shred of interest in the Viking era…faultless…tells a coherent story…this is a book stuffed full of interesting material for anyone interested in the sagas, the Viking age, the Icelandic Commonwealth, and early contact with the New World. Highly recommended”—Armed and Dangerous
• “A warning to readers. You may find you need to hide your copy of this book…chapters on pretty much all aspects of daily life…. You don’t need to be a specialist in anthropology or history to understand…illustrated with numerous black and white photographs of Iceland and Icelandic artifacts, drawings and maps…enjoyed it very much. You’ve got to hand it to McFarland as they publish some fascinating books”—Green Man Review
• “A perfect companion or an introduction to reading the sagas…very easy to read, and covers many topics in the life of the people in Iceland during those times…covers religion, laws, feuds, home life, and the settlement, among other topics…truly gives you an overview of what everyday life was like…[Short’s] research is flawless, and his sources are well-documented…bibliography is impressive…very well-indexed…entertaining, easy-to-read and very educational”—Lögberg-Heimskringla
• “Well-structured, easily understandable and practical…digs deep into a wide range of archaeological and literary sources…presents readers with a realistic account of life in the saga age…excellent…thorough and accurate…interesting…especially helpful”—Iceland Review
• “Riveting exploration…a solid addition”—Midwest Book Review
• “Fresh and interesting…a most readable book”—SMART: Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching
• “Comprehensive but accessible history…. All aspects of society are covered including laws, conflict, domestic work, agriculture, gender roles, trade and production. Blending literature, legal codes, chronicles and archaeology and embellishing them with pictures, many of which he took himself. Short’s book is a perfect companion to the study of the Icelandic sagas”—Reference and Research Book News
In this first ever book-length treatment, 11 scholars with a variety of backgrounds in medieval studies, film studies, and medievalism discuss how historical and fictional medieval women have been portrayed on film and their connections to the feminist movements of the 20th and 21st centuries. From detailed studies of the portrayal of female desire and sexuality, to explorations of how and when these women gain agency, these essays look at the different ways these women reinforce, defy, and complicate traditional gender roles.
Individual essays discuss the complex and sometimes conflicting cinematic treatments of Guinevere, Morgan Le Fay, Isolde, Maid Marian, Lady Godiva, Heloise, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and Joan of Arc. Additional essays discuss the women in Fritz Lang’s The Nibelungen, Liv Ullmann’s Kristin Lavransdatter, and Bertrand Tavernier’s La Passion Béatrice.
The Westford Knight is a mysterious, controversial stone carving in Massachusetts. Some believe it is an effigy of a 14th century knight, evidence of an early European visit to the New World by Henry Sinclair, the Earl of Orkney and Lord of Roslin. In 1954, an archaeologist encountered the carving, long known to locals and ascribed a variety of origin stories, and proposed it to be a remnant of the Sinclair expedition. The story of the Westford Knight is a mix of history, archaeology, sociology, and Knights Templar lore. This work unravels the threads of the Knight’s history, separating fact from fantasy.
This revised edition includes a new foreword and four new chapters which add context to the myth-building that has surrounded the Westford Knight and artifacts like it.
This essay collection is a wide-ranging exploration of Vikings, the television series that has successfully summoned the historical world of the Norse people for modern audiences to enjoy. From a range of critical viewpoints, these all fresh essays explore the ways in which past and present representations of the Vikings converge in the show’s richly textured dramatization of the rise and fall of Ragnar Loðbrók—and the exploits of his heirs—creating what many viewers label a “true” representation of the age. From the show’s sources in both saga literature and Victorian revival, to its engagement with contemporary concerns regarding gender, race and identity, via setting, sex, society and more, this first book-length study of the History Channel series appeals to fans of the show, Viking enthusiasts, and anyone with an interest in medievalist representation in the 21st century.
McFarland is exhibiting at a number of regional and national conferences in the coming months, and conferees are encouraged to take the opportunity to peruse our books and meet an editor. Schedule an appointment by emailing us in advance (Layla Milholen, Gary Mitchem, or Dré Person), or stop by the McFarland booth in the exhibit room for a casual conversation with an editor.
Popular Culture Association in the South Sept 26-28, Wilmington, NC, Layla Milholen Association for the Study of African American Life and History Oct 3-5, Charleston, SC, Dré Person Midwest Popular Culture Association Oct 10-13 Cincinnati, OH, Layla Milholen American Folklore Society Oct 16-19, Baltimore, MD, Gary Mitchem South Central Modern Language Association Oct 24-26, Little Rock, AR, Gary Mitchem Mid-Atlantic Popular Culture Association Nov 7-9, 2019, Pittsburgh, PA, Gary Mitchem Film and History Nov 13-17, Madison, WI, Dré Person National Women’s Studies Association Nov 14-17, San Francisco, CA, Layla Milholen South Atlantic Modern Language Association Nov 15–17, Atlanta, GA, Gary Mitchem American Philosophical Association Jan 8-11, Philadelphia, PA, Dré Person Modern Language Association Jan 9-12, Seattle, WA, Gary Mitchem
Modern? Urban? YA? Medieval? Dark? Weird? Fairy Tale? Delve into the fantastic with McFarland’s latest catalog of fantasy books, and, through Sept 30, get 20% off your order with coupon code FANTASY19!
The heyday of silent film soon became quaint with the arrival of “talkies.” As early as 1929, critics and historians were writing of the period as though it were the distant past. Much of the literature on the silent era focuses on its filmic art—ambiance and psychological depth, the splendor of the sets and costumes—yet overlooks the inspiration behind these.
This book explores the Middle Ages as the prevailing influence on costume and set design in silent film and a force in fashion and architecture of the era. In the wake of World War I, designers overthrew the artifice of prewar style and manners and drew upon what seemed a nobler, purer age to create an ambiance that reflected higher ideals.
We’re turning 40, and we’re celebrating with a special fortieth anniversary sale! Through June 30, get a 25% discount on ALL books when you use the code ANN2019. And if you’ll be in our area (Ashe County, North Carolina, in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains), we’d love to see you at our open house event on Friday, June 14. Thank you for supporting our first 40 years—we look forward to celebrating many more birthdays with you.
On June 14, 2019, McFarland will celebrate its fortieth anniversary with an open house party. From noon to five, our campus at 960 Hwy 88 W, Jefferson, NC will be open to the public with finger food, conversation and tours available, and many of our authors will be in attendance. To stay up-t0-date with event information, follow our event page. Below is a brief company history, with personal thoughts, by founder and editor-in-chief Robert Franklin.
McFarland Publishers Now Forty Years Old
by Robert Franklin
McFarland’s history (founder, Robbie Franklin, me): My close friends Biff and Alicia Stickel were burned out special ed teachers in Connecticut, early 70’s. What to do? Back to the land! They (and their little daughter Maranatha Shone Stickel) drove south till they loved the vibe and the scenery and wound up living on Peak Road from 1972 through part of 1978 (and birthing Micah Stickel). Alicia played piano at the local Baptist church and they were cofounders of the Creston Co-op. I visited them in ’72 (instantly fell for the land and people, the forefinger car salute, the almost drinkable river) and again every year after, and when wife Cheryl Roberts came into my life in 1975, we visited. Soon I was bragging about Ashe County to everybody – “If your car breaks down, the very next person to come along will stop and ask if you need help.” I hope a few readers can recognize the Stickels’ name (he goes by Richard now; they live in Toronto). They are the reason McFarland was begun in Ashe County. We present band of publishers, about fifty in number, owe them great honor.
I did not learn till after we moved here in 1979 that my Revolutionary War ancestor Lieutenant Robert McFarland, after whupping the king at Kings Mountain, lived up here in the 1790s. He then went overmountain to become the first ever sheriff of Greene/Washington County, Tennessee. (I was born in Memphis.)
McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers is our official name. Founded in April 1979 right here. I had been the executive editor of a smallish scholarly publisher in New Jersey; my mentor/boss/friend Eric Moon (a charismatic Brit) knew before I did it was time for me to go off on “my own” (very misleading words!). The local Ashe County newspaper was failing by 1978 and at first I thought, o.k., I’m an editor type, maybe I can start up a new one. Between summer and Christmas the local fellow David Desautels decided the same thing and very successfully started The Jefferson Times. We became friends and McFarland’s earliest two or three books (including a biography of Soviet leader Brezhnev) were typeset using off-hours time on that new newspaper’s equipment. Katy Zell Taylor was our first fulltime employee (Ashe Central H.S. yearbook editor!) and did a lot of typesetting and correcting. Dental Care in Society was our first published book, in 1980 (ask me some day).
After deciding up in New Jersey to stay with book (versus newspaper) publishing, I phoned the Jefferson Post Office in February 1979 to set up a box number mailing address – they said people had to apply in person. Whew! So I flew from Newark to Tri-Cities, Tennessee (what did I know?), rented a car, drove to Jefferson (hours!), filled out a form, got back in the car, drove back to Tri-Cities, and got back home not long before day was done.
A couple of months later, on April 1, 1979, Cheryl and I packed our former life stuff (including hundreds of books—heavy!) in a small U-Haul, attached it to our VW bug, and began to drive south, the Stickels’ Ashe County on our minds.
My ninth-grade homeroom friend (Toledo, Ohio), Mike Strand, had helped with some financial and emotional support and we stopped at his place in Maryland overnight. Armed with an Ashe return address, I had written several hundred letters (yes!) on a yellow pad on my knees in the front seat while Cheryl drove, and Mike arranged for a nearby university used-to-weird-hours thesis typist to type them all overnight; we mailed them April 2 and drove on. We were headed to my parents’ (retired librarians) house in Charlottesville, with me again writing several hundred short letters on my lap. We had arranged for a similar heroic overnight typing fest (the two days: 905 letters to all the authors I had addresses for, saying my former employer will take good care of you, they’re wonderful publishers—But if by any chance they turn you down for something, give us a shot!).
The U-Haul was too much for the Bug and our left rear wheel came OFF 20 miles north of Charlottesville—but stayed in the wheel well (having nowhere else to go), behaving violently. Definitely exciting (it was my stint at the wheel). We lost two or three days; I split logs for my parents’ fireplace.
In Ashe County finally, we scooped up some reply mail from authors. Already! And we soon secured a sweet farmhouse in Dillard Holler (landlord Jesse Dillard; Mom-figure Clyde Dillard; horse-plus-himself quarter-acre-garden plower Jones Dillard). The Dillard families taught us a great deal about what being “conservative” actually means. (One day Jesse turned up with several hundred fence rails he stored near “our” (his) house; no immediate need, but “I got ’em for 25¢ each.” They stayed stacked for years…) The birth of our sons Charles (in ’81), Nicholas (’85) and William (’89) certainly emphasized the Dillards’ lessons. (Jesse routinely tossed hay bales up into pickup trucks in his 80’s. Lemme be him!)
McFarland itself started out next to the H & R Block office, near the florist, in Jefferson, a small space but enough for our first couple of years. The Jefferson Post Office turned out, under our loyal friend Charles Caudill, to be one of our greatest early assets. He was so supportive as McF struggled through ignorance of mass mailings, foreign registered packages (we learned together!), “library rate” book mailings, etc. McFarland moved in 1981 or ’82 to the Mountain View shopping center between the towns and quickly expanded there. In 1982 we lucked out by having Rhonda Herman agree to join the tiny staff, doing all the “business” stuff while I coddled authors, edited manuscripts and coached the typesetters. High school senior Cynthia Campbell became a stalwart and sixteen year old Cherie Scott was a wow of a typesetter, along with Katy Taylor, on our new typesetting equipment. Within three years we were producing 40 or so new books a year (in 2018 the total was nearly 400).
Meanwhile, the people of Ashe County all around us showed interest, great surprise (“A Publisher in Ashe County?” read one huge Jefferson Times headline), and affection. Highly significant was Hal Colvard, repeatedly trusting us, at Northwestern bank, another wonderful early friend of McFar. We warmly greeted each other on Saturday mornings at the post office for many years after he retired.
By 1984 we’d moved to our present location, which became five buildings on both sides of the road. We’re technically inside Jefferson town limits. We took Mackey McDonald’s trim brick ranch house, whacked walls left and right, pushed out here, there… Years later we added a second floor – my joke is, the main building now has more roof lines than an Italian hill village.
We are, or were, a library-oriented scholarly and reference book publisher. (We’ve grown much more into a straight-to-people operation today but libraries are still a critical component of our efforts.) Two of our earliest works were Library Display Ideas by my sister Linda Franklin and Free Magazines for Libraries, by Adeline Mercer Smith: they were terrific sales successes. Another 1982 biggie was Anabolic Steroids and the Athlete by William M. Taylor, M.D. We hit that topic just as it exploded nationwide. One of the most memorable early works was Keep Watching the Skies! by Bill Warren (1982). This huge book expertly, humorously covers in amazing depth every American science fiction movie of the 1950s and a lot of Hollywood Big Names spoke highly of it in print. We were famous! (Well, the author was…)
McFarland was an early strong supporter of the local arts scene. (There are hundreds of paintings hanging in four of our buildings.) Cheryl Roberts and I founded the publication ARTS/DATES for the Arts Council in 1980 or 1981, and for more than a decade paid all its expenses as it grew grander and ever more useful. Loyal Jane Lonon (Arts Council head) wangled twice for us an N.C. Governor’s Business Award for the Arts and Humanities (go to Raleigh; shake hands; pose for photos; eat dinner).
I joined the strong, active Ashe County Little Theatre and played Dracula for them in 1981, sporting fangs crafted by the late Brett Summey, who became a good friend, now truly missed. Jane Lonon and I wowed the crowd in The King and I and Tom Fowler and I rolled them in the aisles in Greater Tuna. When I played Macbeth, the high school English teacher promised extra credit to student attendees.
McFarland’s output grew rapidly—by the 1990s we were producing hundreds of new titles each year and our staff had doubled, then tripled in size. Margie Turnmire had arrived in the mid–’80s, a beautiful soul and a very smart lady: director of finance and administration. In 1995 the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce honored us with a Business of the Year award (I believe we were the third such) and in 1998 The Wall Street Journal ran a feature article on us, showing that we are a bit unusual in our range of offerings. We have a commanding position in, for example, Vietnam combat memoirs, chess history, baseball (teams, eras, bios), automotive history and popular culture (film, TV, comics, literature…). We’ve done many reference books (though with Wiki-Google etc. now such works are uneconomical to produce); a Library Journal book of the year was local John Stewart’s African States and Rulers in 1989. Lots of Civil War, World War II, American/European/World history, literary criticism. Authors from all over the world. That part’s fun! As I write this we have published 7,800 titles.
We had busted out of our onsite warehouse and used the old Ashe County Jail on Buffalo Road for several years in the 80s! Ultimately we had to move our shipping operation into the building next to the Arts Council owned by Jim Reeves. On its outer wall facing the Arts Center we had Jack Young do the town’s first mural (now painted over): “Ashe County through the Ages.” Finally, Mike Herman built us an entirely new warehouse across the road from our main building in about 1990. Fourteen years later, then-vice-president Rhonda Herman (now president) moved the company onto firmer financial footing by arranging to install state-of-the-art printing equipment in that warehouse (we’d always used out-of-house printing firms).
Cheryl and I love Ashe County. We love the people. We love the trees, the river. (We came in first in the Mixed Expert class canoe race four or five years ago!) I even like the curves driving 23 miles to and fro our home to work (we live practically on the Tennessee line, up in the Flatwoods). The finger salute still works and the tire zing helps me think through business challenges. Our three boys, Charles, Nicky and William, also revere their place of birth. McFarland has about 50 employees, all of whom are exceptionally talented. When I got here to start the company, I truly had my pick of some of the best talent available anywhere, and I mean Anywhere. Our typesetters know every Hungarian or Swedish accent mark there is!
The local merchants have become business partners. Local artists have paintings hanging in our offices. The restaurants are great for business lunches. The weather—sublime (I learned to fell trees and the art of minimizing the lifting and stacking of logs our first year here); I like winter! Mike Herman built our house and the numerous renovations of our current space—impossible to imagine a better job. Stan Barker did some fabulous stone walls at our home. I feel both cozy and exhilarated just getting up in the morning! Ashe County, we’re for you!
McFarland is having an open house (snacks, drinks, tours) starting at noon on Friday, June 14th. We want to show our thanks to a community that has nurtured us for 40 years. Come one, come all!
Combining elements of medievalism, the historical novel and the detective narrative, medieval crime fiction capitalizes upon the appeal of all three—the most famous examples being Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose (one of the best-selling books ever published) and Ellis Peters’ endearing Brother Cadfael series.
Hundreds of other novels and series fill out the genre, in settings ranging from the so-called Celtic Enlightenment in seventh-century Ireland to the ruthless Inquisition in fourteenth-century France to the mean streets of medieval London. The detectives are an eclectic group, including weary ex-crusaders, former Knights Templar, enterprising monks and nuns, and historical poets such as Geoffrey Chaucer.
This book investigates the enduring popularity of the largely unexamined genre and explores its social, cultural and political contexts.
McFarland’s biographies and memoirs cover the fascinating life stories of both iconic personalities and quiet heroes. On sale now, browse hundreds of titles from history, sports, movies, music, science & technology, literature, military history, transportation and more. When you order direct from our website using the coupon code BIOGRAPHY, print editions of all biographies, autobiographies and memoirs are 20% off now through February 15.
The holidays are a special time at McFarland—in addition to publishing scholarship, many of us also participate in the tree harvest, as Ashe County produces more Christmas trees than any other county in the United States. If you live in the Southeast, you may have a little bit of McFarland in your living room right now! This season, please consider putting some McFarlandunder the tree for the readers in your life. To make your holiday shopping easier, we’re offering 25% off of ALL books through the end of the year! On our website, use coupon code HOLIDAY18, or call us at 800-253-2187. For inspiration, browse our new catalog of of gift ideas for readers. Happy holidays from your friends at McFarland!
After Operation Valkyrie—the failed July 20, 1944, plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler and seize control of the German government—both the Third Reich and Hitler came to a violent end. Hitler promised a classless fatherland before he became chancellor and had covertly been liquidating Germany’s elite officer corps long before Stalingrad. Today it is possible to reconstruct and connect important events and biographies of the principle characters to chronicle the disappearance of Germany’s officer class, its nobility and, for a time, its civilian leadership.
The concept of the individual or the self, central in so many modern-day contexts, has not been investigated in depth in the Anglo-Saxon period. Focusing on Old English poetry, the author argues that a singular, Anglo-Saxon sense of self may be found by analyzing their surviving verse. The concept of the individual, with an identity outside of her community, is clearly evident during this period, and the widely accepted view that the individual as we understand it did not really exist until the Renaissance does not stand up to scrutiny.
What is known of the legendary King Arthur is mostly derived from folklore and literature. Though today, one is just as likely to have been introduced to King Arthur by a cartoon boy pulling a sword from a stone. You’ll find books covering all disciplines in our new King Arthur catalog.
For film studies, McFarland’s latest catalog includes such titles as Kevin J. Harty’s groundbreaking Cinema Arthuriana and The Reel Middle Ages. For students (and professors) of Arthurian literature, William W. Kibler and R. Barton Palmer have brought us a very useful book for the classroom, Medieval Arthurian Epic and Romance. It offers new translations from Latin, Middle English and Old French of texts that exemplify the most important traditions of Arthurian literature in the Middle Ages. In addition to Arthuriana in folklore, literature and film, this new catalog also includes our line of popular works debating the evidence about historic sites and figures, including Hengest, Gwrtheyrn and the Chronology of Post-Roman Britain. When you order direct from our website using the coupon code Arthur25, print editions of all Arthuriana books are 25% off September 15 through September 30.
Focusing on modern-day fiction set in the Middle Ages or that incorporates medieval elements, this study examines storytelling components and rhetorical tropes in more than 60 works in five languages by more than 40 authors.
Medievalist fiction got its “postmodern” start with such authors as Calvino, Fuentes, Carpentier and Eco. Its momentum increased since the 1990s with writers whose work has received less critical attention, like Laura Esquivel, Tariq Ali, Matthew Pearl, Matilde Asensi, Ildefonso Falcones, Andrew Davison, Bernard Cornwell, Donnal Woolfolk Cross, Ariana Franklin, Nicole Griffith, Levi Grossman, Conn Iggulden, Edward Rutherfurd, Javier Sierra, Alan Moore and Brenda Vantrease.
The author explores a wide range of “medievalizing” tropes, discusses the negative responses of postmodernism and posits four “hard problems” in medievalist fiction.
Among the 12 disciples of Jesus, perhaps none has inspired more magnificent art—as well as political upheaval—than Saint James the Greater. Portrayed in the New Testament as part of Jesus’ inner circle, he was the first apostle to be martyred. Eight centuries later, Saint James, or Santiago, become the de facto patron saint of Spain, believed to be a supernatural warrior who led the victorious Christian armies during the Iberian Reconquista. After 1492, the Santiago cult found its way to the New World, where it continued to exert influence.
Today, he remains the patron saint of pilgrims to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela. His legacy has bequeathed a magnificent tradition of Western art over nearly two millennia.
Magic, both benevolent (white) and malign (black), has been practiced in the British Isles since at least the Iron Age (800 BCE–CE 43). “Curse tablets”—metal plates inscribed with curses intended to harm specific people—date from the Roman Empire. The Anglo-Saxons who settled in England in the fifth and sixth centuries used ritual curses in documents, and wrote spells and charms.
When they became Christians in the seventh century, the new “magicians” were saints, who performed miracles. When William of Normandy became king in 1066, there was a resurgence of belief in magic. The Church was able to quell the fear of magicians, but the Reformation saw its revival, with numerous witchcraft trials in the late 16th and 17th centuries.
George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire has sparked a renewed interest in things medieval. The pseudo-historical world of Westeros delights casual fans while offering a rich new perspective for medievalists and scholars.
This study explores how Martin crafts a chivalric code that intersects with and illuminates well known medieval texts, including both romance and heroic epics.
Through characters such as Brienne of Tarth, Sandor Clegane and Jaime Lannister, Martin variously challenges, upholds and deconstructs chivalry as depicted in the literature of the Middle Ages.
Peplum or “sword-and-sandal” films—an Italian genre of the late 1950s through the 1960s—featured ancient Greek, Roman and Biblical stories with gladiators, mythological monsters and legendary quests. The new wave of historic epics, known as neo-pepla, is distinctly different, embracing new technologies and storytelling techniques to create an immersive experience unattainable in the earlier films.
This collection of new essays explores the neo-peplum phenomenon through a range of topics, including comic book adaptations like Hercules, the expansion of genre boundaries in Jupiter Ascending and John Carter, depictions of Romans and slaves in Spartacus, and The Eagle and Centurion as metaphors for America’s involvement in the Iraq War.
The early chroniclers of Britain presented the island as the promised land of the Roman goddess Diana. Later, when the story of Arthur was transformed by Christian mythology, a new literary concept of the island was promoted: the promised land of the Holy Grail. As the feminine enchantment of the Goddess gave way to the masculine crusade of the Grail Quest, the otherworld realms of the fays or fairy women were denigrated in favor of the heavenly afterlife.
The dualism of the medieval authors was challenged by modern writers such as Blake and Tolkien, as well as by the scholars of the Eranos conferences. This book explores the conflict between Goddess and Grail—a rift less about paganism versus Christianity than about religious literalism versus spiritual imagination—which is resolved in the figure of Sophia (Divine Wisdom).
George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels and HBO’s Game of Thrones series depict a medieval world at war. But how accurate are they? The author, an historian and medieval martial arts expert, examines in detail how authentically Martin’s fictional world reflects the arms and armor, fighting techniques and siege warfare of the Middle Ages. Along the way, he explores the concept of “medievalism”—modern pop culture’s idea of the Middle Ages.
Before stories of King Arthur and Robin Hood were adapted and readapted for film, television and theater, radio scriptwriters looking for material turned to Thomas Malory’s Le Morte Darthur (1485) and Howard Pyle’s The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood (1883). From the 1930s throughout the mid–1950s, their legends inspired storylines for Abbott and Costello, Popeye, Let’s Pretend, Escape, Gunsmoke, The Adventures of Superman and others. Many of these adaptations reflect the moral and ethical questions of the day, as characters’ faced issues of gender relations, divorce, citizenship, fascism, crime and communism in a medieval setting.
Our understanding of Celtic astrology is based mainly on the speculations of modern authors—mostly drawn from classical Greek and Roman writings—and suffers from many misconceptions. European astrology uses the Greek model, containing many Babylonian and Egyptian elements. But Celtic astrology (and other Indo-European astrologies) developed earlier, with relationships to Middle Eastern systems, as well as their own independent forms.
This well documented study takes a fresh look at the development of Celtic astrology and the Druids’ systems of cosmology, astronomy and astrology. The author analyzes commentaries found in manuscript sources from antiquity to the Middle Ages, comparing them with cosmological and astronomical lore found in Celtic cultures. Ancient constellations, calendars, deities and rituals reveal a rich worldview.
Drawing on historical documents, legends, archeology and literature, this history describes the disintegration of Roman Britain that reached a climax in the decades after the Britons overthrew Constantine’s government and were refused Roman rule. Beginning with the weakening of Roman Britain, the author chronicles the breakdown of the empire’s social, political and economic order and the re-emergence of British political, economic and social structure as well as a parallel development among the Germanic invaders. The roles of religion, disease, the military, the Irish and the Picts during the 4th through 7th centuries are examined. This study synthesizes advances in post–Roman studies since Leslie Alcock’s 1971 classic Arthur’s Britain.
This weekend in Nashville, we’re exhibiting at the Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association in the South 2016 conference! Visit our book exhibit to shop and to discuss your book proposal with Dylan Lightfoot.
A story that follows a simple trajectory is seldom worth telling. But the unexpected overturning of narrative progress creates complexity and interest, directing the reader’s attention to the most powerful elements of a story.
Exile, for example, upsets a protagonist’s hopes for a happy earthly life, emphasizing spiritual perception instead. Waking life interrupts dreams, just as dreams may redirect how one lives.
Focusing on medieval literature, this study explores how narrative subversion works in such well known stories as Beowulf,Piers Plowman, Le Morte D’Arthur, The Canterbury Tales, Troylus and Criseyde, “Völuspá” and other Old Norse sagas, Grail quest romances, and many others.
Edmund Spenser’s vast epic poem The Faerie Queene is the most challenging masterpiece in early modern literature and is praised as the work most representative of the Elizabethan age. In it he fused traditions of medieval romance and classical epic, his religious and political allegory creating a Protestant alternative to the Catholic romances rejected by humanists and Puritans. The poem was later made over as children’s literature, retold in lavish volumes and schoolbooks and appreciated in pedagogical studies and literary histories.
Distinguished writers for children simplified the stories and noted artists illustrated them. Children were less encouraged to consider the allegory than to be inspired to the moral virtues. This book studies The Faerie Queene’s many adaptations for a young audience in order to provide a richer understanding of both the original and adapted texts.
The Vikings descended upon Europe at the close of the 8th century, invading the continent’s western seas and river systems, trading, raiding and spreading terror. In the north, they settled Iceland and Greenland and reached North America. In the east, Swedish Varangians established a river road to the Orient. With the collapse of the Viking commercial empire, Sweden and the other Scandinavian countries struggled to survive, their hardships exacerbated by internal strife, foreign domination and the Black Death.
This book details the development of Scandinavia—Sweden in particular—from the end of the Ice Age, through a series of prehistoric cultures, the Bronze and Iron ages, to the Viking period and late Middle Ages. Recent research suggests a Swedish origin of the Goths, who helped dismember the Roman Empire, and evidence of Swedish participation in the western Viking expeditions. Special attention is given to Eastern Europe, where Sweden dominated commerce through the conquest of trade towns and the river systems of Russia.
Every culture has in its folklore and mythology beings of immense size and strength, as well as other preternatural humanoids great or small who walk among us, serving the divine or fulfilling their own agendas. This book catalogs the lore and legends of more than 1,000 different humanoid species and individual beings, including the Titans, Valkyries, Jotnar, yōkai, biblical giants, elves, ogres, trolls and many more.
Hosted by Western Michigan University’s Medieval Institute, the International Congress on Medieval Studies is an annual gathering of around 3,000 scholars interested in medieval studies. The congress features 550-575 sessions of papers, panel discussions, roundtables, workshops and performances. There are also some 100 business meetings and receptions sponsored by learned societies, associations and institutions. The exhibits hall boasts nearly 70 exhibitors, including publishers, used book dealers and purveyors of medieval sundries. The congress lasts three and a half days, extending from Thursday morning, with sessions beginning at 10 a.m., until Sunday at noon.
“Here there be dragons”—this notation was often made on ancient maps to indicate the edges of the known world and what lay beyond. Heroes who ventured there were only as great as the beasts they encountered. This encyclopedia contains more than 2,200 monsters of myth and folklore, who both made life difficult for humans and fought by their side. Entries describe the appearance, behavior, and cultural origin of mythic creatures well-known and obscure, collected from traditions around the world.
Medieval castles were not just showcases for the royal and powerful, they were also the centerpieces of many people’s daily lives. A travel guide as well as a historical text, this volume looks at castles not just as ruined buildings, but as part of the cultural and scenic landscape. The 88 photographs illustrate the different architectural concepts and castle features discussed in the text. The book includes glossaries of terminology, an appendix listing all the castles mentioned and their locations, notes, bibliography and index.
The Druids and the Arthurian legends are all most of us know about early Britain, from the Neolithic to the Iron Age (4500 BC–AD 43). Drawing on archaeological discoveries and medieval Welsh texts like the Mabinogion, this book explores the religious beliefs of the ancient Britons before the coming of Christianity, beginning with the megaliths—structures like Stonehenge—and the role they played in prehistoric astronomy.
Topics include the mysterious Beaker people of the Early Bronze Age, Iron Age evidence of the Druids, the Roman period and the Dark Ages. The author discusses the myths of King Arthur and what they tell us about paganism, as well as what early churches and monasteries reveal about the enigmatic Druids.
This new English translation of the Faroe-Islander Saga (Faereyinga saga)—a great medieval Icelandic saga—tells the story of the first settlers on these wind-swept islands at the edge of the Scandinavian world. Written by an anonymous 13th-century Icelander, the saga centers on the enduring animosity between Sigmundur Brestirsson and Thrandur of Göta, rival chieftains whose bitter disagreements on the introduction of Christianity to the Faroe Islands set the stage for much violence and a feud which then unfolds over generations of their descendants.
Making the saga accessible to a wider English readership, the translation is accompanied by a brief introduction, explanatory notes, genealogical and chronological tables, detailed maps and an excerpt from Jomsvikings’ Saga which informs missing passages from the Faroe-Islander Saga manuscripts.
Our brand-new holiday catalog is in the mail, but we’re giving you a sneak preview this morning—click here for great holiday gift ideas before the catalog hits your mailbox!
And, because it’s never too early to start your holiday shopping, we’re offering our biggest sale of the year! Get 30% off your purchase of two or more books when you enter the coupon code HOLIDAY2015 at checkout!
We’re exhibiting at the biennial North Carolina Library Association conference in Greensboro, North Carolina this week! Our own Dylan Lightfoot and Stephanie Nichols are exhibiting books, and several McFarland authors are among the NC librarians attending the convention.
We’re exhibiting at the sold-out New York Comic Con this week! NYCC—the East Coast’s largest pop culture event–is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and McFarland is celebrating its fifth year exhibiting. Stop by booth 2104 to browse the best pop culture scholarship and to chat with our Lisa Camp.
This just in from our friends at the International Arthurian Society, North American Branch…the Medievalism in Popular Culture Area’s deadline submission is October 1, 2015 (one month earlier than previous years).
PCA/ACA 2016 National Conference (March 21- 25, 2016, Seattle, Washington): The Medievalism in Popular Culture Area (now the combined areas of Arthurian and Other Medievalism) accepts papers on all topics that explore either popular culture during the Middle Ages or transcribe some aspect of the Middle Ages into the popular culture of later periods. These representations can occur in any genre, including film, television, novels, graphic novels, gaming, advertising, art, etc. Submissions encouraged about the following topics:
· The Arthurian World
· Children’s Books / Shows / Games
· Medievalism and Science Fiction
· Medievalism in Game of Thrones, including representations of masculinity, weapons, and vows
· Robin Hood
· Medievalism and Teaching
· Board Games / Online Gaming / Cosplay
· Medievalism in Novels /Short Stories/ Poem
All papers will be included in sessions with four presenters each, so plan to present on your topic for no more than 15 minutes, inclusive of any audio or visual materials. If your topic idea does not fit into any of these categories, please feel free to submit your proposal. I would like to encourage as much participation as possible, and depending on submissions, I may rearrange the topic groupings. Panel submissions are also welcome on any topic of medievalism. If you would like to propose a panel, please submit your complete panel directly to Christina Francis (individual papers must be submitted to the PCA online system — see below).
Please submit a title and a 250 word abstract to http://ncp.pcaaca.org. All submissions must be directed to the online database. Be sure to indicate whatever audio/visual needs you may have. Traditionally, all rooms at the PCA/ACA conference provide a projection screen with sound capability. Presenters are required to bring their own laptops and any special connectors. Deadline for submission: October 1, 2015 (one month earlier than previous years).For questions, contact Christina Francis.
Medieval Literature & Gender Studies
Department of English
It’s that time of year again! McFarland is in Indy for Gen Con: the original, longest-running, and best-attended gaming convention in the world! It’s no small thing to keep up with gamers from all 50 states and more than 40 countries, but we’ll do our best.
Authors, customers, friends, and fans: if you’ve ever wondered what McF’s mountain town is like, have a look at this neat response about our area from a recent vacationer. (A special nod, too, to our Boondocks friends who regularly support us in a number of ways.) We love where we live!
There is much to celebrate today! Our publishing duty, however, is to equip you with industry intel (some of which is less likely to be in your news feed today). Therefore, as we witness historic decisions in our country, we’d be remiss not to mention the Annual American Library Association conference, which meets over the weekend in San Francisco. Themed “TRANSFORMING our libraries, ourselves, McFarland looks forward to several days’ worth of terrific conversations about all things librarianship.
A happy coincidence—assistant sales manager Adam Phillips has THIS hotel view, providing opportunities to share the goings-on of an historic Pride Week in San Francisco.
It’s no secret that we at McFarland are fans of sf and fantasy (and horror, gaming, cosplay, and all the rest!). So we’re very excited to attend this year’s ConCarolinas in Concord, NC., May 29-31. Klingon Karaoke, anyone? See you there!
One of our favorite times of year is the chance to dwell among 3,000+ of the world’s most knowledgeable medievalists. This week McFarland is participating in the 50th annual International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo.
How time flies! It seems like only yesterday we were wassailing our apple trees. Now, spring is upon us, and it is time to dance and crown a May Queen.
Not just an old European tradition, Allison Thompson’s book describes how, starting in the early 1830s, American girls and women began to hold Old English May Day festivals, complete with maypole dances, the crowning of a May Queen, and romantic plays and pageants. These festivals accelerated in popularity after 1900 at colleges and universities across the country. An important part of the traditional college experience for many women, the celebrations played a surprisingly influential role in the Progressive reform movement.
May Day Festivals in America, 1830 to the Present is a thorough history that examines the creation and development of the traditional American May Day festival. It also provides an overview of May Day celebrations at 80 specific college and universities, eight of which continue to celebrate the festival annually. The Society of Folk and Dance Historians calls the book “a model of organization and scholarship, with each well-researched chapter building on the previous to paint a clear and logical portrait of May Day celebrations…fascinating insights…well-researched and well-written, packed with information and illustrations…you must read this book.”
McFarland is exhibiting at the annual conference of the Popular Culture Association April 1-4 in New Orleans, Louisiana. In addition to our book display and sale, editors will be on hand to discuss manuscript ideas. Click here to browse McFarland’s books about popular culture. #pcaaca2015
“Strongly interdisciplinary and informed by deep scholarship, this well-written work has value for the history of education, European history, literature, folklore, and children’s literature studies…highly recommended”—Choice
McFarland & Company, at your service! (Thank you, Bilbo, for teaching us proper etiquette.) While we’d like to offer you all ale, seed-cake, mince pies, buttered scones, apple tarts and cheese, we do have some fine scholarship about Tolkien to share (links listed below). And in lieu of burgling a dragon’s hoard for you, we’re extending a 20% discount with the coupon code HOARD. This “weekly” deal is good through New Year’s. (New deal coming January 2, 2015.)