Face to Face with Angels

Images in Medieval Art and in Film


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About the Book

Arch-mediator between the divine and the mundane, the angel is an enduring figure in the Western world. It has been interpreted as an externalization of repressed fantasies, a projection of the self as other, and a metaphor for modern estrangement. This book is the first comparative study of sacred medieval images of angels and their cinematic treatment, including reference to both the medieval and modern imaginations. The text traces the traditional functions of angels and their reworking in film, then takes particular note of new icons like the female angel and others who become models for our connection with transcendence.

About the Author(s)

Sandra Gorgievski is an associate professor of English at the University of Toulon. Her research interests include medieval and contemporary popular culture. She is the author of a book on Arthurian myth and the co-author of a book on medievalism.

Bibliographic Details

Sandra Gorgievski
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 232
Bibliographic Info: 37 photos, notes, filmography, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2010
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4220-1
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5756-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      v

Preface      1

Introduction: From Sacred Images of Angels to New Icons?      5

Part 1: Angels Serving the Creator: Views of Heaven in a “Post-Ideological” World?      19

1. From the Medieval Cosmic Hierarchy to Frightful

Mechanization      21

2. Fighting Angels: From Archangel Michael and

Celestial Militia to Modern Fear of the Apocalypse      40

3. Music-Making Angels: From the Music of the Spheres to Show Business      53

Part 2: Angelic Functions: Mediation between the Divine and the Mundane      67

4. Jacob’s Ladder      69

5. Staging the Bible: Archangel Gabriel of the Annunciation      76

6. Consolation, Compassion and Comfort: The Guardian Angel in Comedies      99

Part 3: The Female Angel      113

7. Female Stereotypes of Domestic Bliss      117

8. Mother Figures      127

9. The Angel of Death as Femme Fatale      134

10. The Dishonored Virgin or Virtue Rewarded      139

Part 4: Otherness: From Absolute to Human      144

11. The Self as Other /Mapping the Other’s Territory      147

12. Crossing Over to the Human World      158

13. Angelic Allusions in Some Science Fiction Films      180

14. Metaphors of Incommunicability      189

Conclusion: Consumable Images and New Rituals      197

Filmography      201

Chapter Notes      211

Bibliography      215

Index      219