Medieval Women on Film

Essays on Gender, Cinema and History

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About the Book

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.

About the Author(s)

Kevin J. Harty, professor and formerly chair of English and coordinator of the Undergraduate General Education Core at La Salle University in Philadelphia, is associate editor of Arthuriana, the official journal of the North American Branch of the International Arthurian Society (of which he is the former president). He has previously written or edited 14 books, including ground-breaking studies of depictions of the Middle Ages on film.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Kevin J. Harty

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 216
Bibliographic Info: 26 photos, notes, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6844-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3900-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Medieval Women on Film: An Introduction (Kevin J. Harty) 3

Liberating Guinevere: Female Desire on Film (Amy S. Kaufman) 19
Adversary, Sister, Scapegoat: Morgan le Fay on Film (Usha Vishnuvajjala) 33
Isolde on the Silver Screen: Enraptured, Resolute and Shrewd (Joan Tasker Grimbert) 50
Maid Marian: Neomedievalism and the Misogyny in the Reel (Valerie B. Johnson) 68
The Women of Fritz Lang’s Medieval Epic, The Nibelungen; or, Two Queens and a Nazi (Donald L. Hoffman) 86
Through a Woman’s Eyes: Liv Ullmann’s Kristin Lavransdatter (Joseph M. Sullivan) 103
Gender, Violence and Medievalism in La Passion Béatrice (Andrew B.R. Elliott) 116
Lady Godiva on Film: Icon of Faith, Icon of Feminism or Erotic
Simulacrum (Sandra Gorgievski) 132
Hidden in Plain Sight: Heloise in Clive Donner’s Stealing Heaven (Kristin L. Burr) 147
Catty Queen Consort, Lioness in Winter and Loyal Queen Mother:
Images of Eleanor of Aquitaine in Film (Fiona Tolhurst) 163
The Lady Is for Burning: The Cinematic Joan of Arc and Her Screen Avatars (Kevin J. Harty) 182

About the Contributors 199
Index 201