Remaking the Middle Ages

The Methods of Cinema and History in Portraying the Medieval World


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About the Book

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”).

About the Author(s)

Andrew B.R. Elliott is a former 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.

Bibliographic Details

Andrew B.R. Elliott

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 286
Bibliographic Info: glossary, notes, bibliography, filmography, index
Copyright Date: 2011
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4624-7
eISBN: 978-0-7864-6176-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      ix

Preface      1


1. History, Historiography and Film      9

2. “One Big Medieval Mess”: Accessing the Middle Ages      35


3. When Knights Were Bold: Those Who Fight      53

4. The Power and the Glory: Those Who Rule      83

5. Clergy and Saints: Those Who Pray      113

6. …Everybody Not Sitting on a Cushion: Those Who Work      146


7. Constructing Medieval Worlds: Conventions, Inventions and Images      177

8. Guides to the Medieval Worlds      192

9. Authenticity and Accuracy in Medieval Worlds      206

Glossary      223

Notes      229

Bibliography      257

Filmography      269

Index      273

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Beginning with problems of history and historiography and film, through authenticity and accuracy in medieval worlds, analyze[s] movies depicting the Middle Ages”—Communication Booknotes Quarterly
  • “Frequent reference to movies and literature”—Reference & Research Book News