Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 4687
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  • Title: Seeing Heroes and Ladies in Medieval Romance and Contemporary Mainstream Cinema
  • Source: Seeing Gender: Perspectives on Medieval Gender and Sexuality. Gender and Medieval Studies Conference, King's College, London, January 4-6, 2002.. 2002.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Conference Paper Abstract
  • Subject (See Also): Film Gender in Literature Literature- Verse Romance, Literary Genre
  • Geographic Area: Germany
  • Century: 12-13
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  • Abstract: Action films set in the Middle Ages, like Braveheart, First Knight or the recent release A Knight's Tale, form a distinct genre of contemporary mainstream cinema. I argue that their appeal is partly due to their presentation of the Middle Ages as a mythical Golden Age, in which old-fashioned values, like freedom and truth, and especially old-fashioned gender roles were still what they used to be. Surprisingly, this applies to medieval courtly fiction, too: as I shall show, the first Arthurian romances written in Germany, in the decades around 1200, also created an idealised past when men were still heroes and women still ladies. Comparing romance and film can help create new readings and appreciation of genres. Using theories developed for analysing modern films, I will examine the romances as popular fictions, which use conventional patterns to entertain and provide escape and orientation for the recipient. But like the films, they are never free of subversive, ironic or anxious elements, especially in the presentation of gay men. In particular, I shall explore the different visual representation of men as larger-than-life (for example, through low-angle shots in film and retrospective in romance) and women as beautiful sex objects (through soft-focus in film or focus on body parts in romance). [Reprinted by permission of the Gender and Medieval Studies Conference Organizers].
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  • Year of Publication: 2002.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: Not Available
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