Animating the Medieval: Research on Animated Representations of the Middle Ages in Memory of Michael N. Salda
Sponsored by The Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture
Medievalist Michael N. Salda passed away in October 2015. He was, perhaps, best known for his work on Chaucer and Malory, but scholars of the medieval on screen owe him a greater debt for his pioneering work on animated films, television programming, and theatrical shorts based on medieval subjects. Much of his activities in this field focused on the Matter of Britain. He began these efforts in the mid-1990s, and they culminated in his monograph Arthurian Animation: A Study of Cartoon Camelots on Film and Television published in 2013. In addition, Salda’s interests in animated representations of the medieval extended beyond Arthurian subjects; he also contributed an essay on the Vikings in animation for Vikings on Film: Essays on Depictions of the Nordic Middle Ages (2011) and was working on a venture devoted to cataloging the more general use of the medieval in animation, a project that now seems unlikely to appear given his untimely death. However, as advocates of the Once and Future King have sustained the ideals of their fallen Arthur, we, too, are able to follow Salda’s model and honor his memory in continuing his work by building upon his scholarship in our own contributions to studies of the medieval on screen and by tracking down and discussing additional representations of the medieval in animation. We believe these efforts both further the mission of the Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture (successor to the Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages) in promoting original research on the medieval in popular culture and acknowledge the lasting impact of a colleague that changed the field of Medievalism Studies for the better.