Imagining and revisiting the medieval past has been an ongoing concern through the ages. In the early modern period already, medieval culture was read and shaped according to new paradigms, some of them in drastic contrast to prevailing medieval ones, thus revealing anxiety and fascination for the medieval past that are still ongoing. Indeed, while ‘medieval’ is often used as synonym for ‘barbaric’, ‘primitive’, ‘unsophisticated’, and ‘narrow-minded’, modern culture finds its ‘otherness’ very compelling. Thus, despite these negative connotations and stereotypes, the medieval is witnessing a popular resurgence through films, television series, video games and the new media.
The first aim of this one-day course is to explore the ways in which the medieval has appealed to generations of poets, novelists, filmmakers and computer buffs. We are also interested in the way medieval writings are appropriated, reconfigured and re-interpreted today according to new tastes and readers’ expectations.
The second aim is to explore ways by which medieval texts and culture can be offered in the classroom in exciting and convincing ways, via the use of adaptations in particular. Television series such as Vikings, The Canterbury Tales, or Game of Thrones offer points of access to medieval material to address questions such as exile, migration, gender relations, and myth-making that are still relevant today.
Morning lectures :
(8.45 a.m.-12.00 p.m.)
- Welcome (Boris Vejdovsky, co-director of the programme for English, UNIL)
- Medieval Medievalism in the Old English Ruin
- The Persistence of the Arthurian Legend in Twentieth-Century Literature
- Forward into the Past: The Medieval/Modern and Pedagogy
Afternoon lectures and activities :
(2.00 p.m.-5.30 p.m.)
- Victorian Medievalism: The Tower, or Coming to an Anti-Climax
- Workshop: Teaching Beowulf via Popular Culture
- Workshop: Chaucer and the Screen: The Wife of Bath
(5.30 p.m.-6.30 p.m.)
- Book exhibition and networking