Studies on Medieval Manuscripts and Medievalist Movies
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This collection brings together twelve essays published between 1988 and 2014, two of which are here translated into English from (respectively) their original French or German. All the essays use gender as the main category of analysis, whether of late ancient or early medieval texts or of modern medievalist films.
The historical studies of medieval Europe emphasize the use of manuscript-level evidence, that is, actual sources from the period in question; arguably, this approach provides a more accurate understanding of the period than does work done on the basis of printed and edited sources. Furthermore, many of the manuscript-based essays specifically exploit liturgical or liturgy-adjacent materials; this is an area of research and a type of manuscript that has rarely been approached through a gendered lens. Meanwhile, the cinematic medievalism essays focus on the processes of remediation and adaptation, searching specifically for points at which filmmaking teams diverged from their sources as evidence for the main goals of the films (while also attending to production contexts and to reception).
The juxtaposition in a single collection of scholarship on medieval manuscripts and modern movies illustrates how period specialists can contribute to conversations in the field of (historical) film studies. The book will be of interest to historians of women, gender, Christian liturgy, medieval Europe, medievalism, and historical film.
Table of Contents
1 Women Missionaries: The Example of Frankish Gaul / 2 Is Mother Superior? Towards a History of Feminine Amtscharisma / 3 The Martyr, the Tomb and the Matron: Constructing the (Masculine) "Past" as a Female Power Base4 Differences, (Dis)appearances, and the Disruption of the Straight Telos: Medievalology as a History of Gender / 5 Gender and Exemplarity East of the Middle Rhine: Jesus, Mary, and the Saints in Manuscript Context / 6 Gender Trouble in Paradise: The Case of the Liturgical Virgo / 7 A Cyborg Initiation? Gender Ideology and Baptismal Liturgy in Carolingian Francia / 8 Priestly Women, Virginal Men: Litanies and their Discontents / 9 Apocryphal Acts and Legends of the Apostles as "Feminist" Narratives / 10 Destructive Dominae: Women and Vengeance in Medievalist Films11 Women: The Da Vinci Code and the Fabrication of Tradition / 12 Ethnicity, Gender, and Sexuality in Mid-Century Medievalist Film: The Example of Becket (1964)
Felice Lifshitz received her PhD in History from Columbia University in 1988. For decades she taught at Florida International University in Miami, where she wrote most of the essays republished in Writing Gender, and in her 2020 collection Writing Normandy: Stories of Saints and Rulers. Since 2011 she has been Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Alberta. Her most recent publication is "The Bear Keeper’s Daughter and the Armenian Dwarf: Cinematic Byzantinism in Post-War Europe," in What Byzantinism in Istanbul Is This! Byzantium in Popular Culture (2021), part of a larger project on medievalist historical film.