Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Disney's Robin Hood on CD!

I recently came across a reference to the Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection Robin Hood two-disc set on Amazon.

The initial news and cover art were released in late May on the various Disney Music Emporium media sites (see, for example, the news on its Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DisneyMusicEmporium/photos/a.1417819401816272.1073741828.1417567548508124/1850095375255337/).

Further details on the set can be found on the WDW News Today website (http://wdwnt.com/blog/2017/05/d23-expo-2017-disney-music-emporium-returning-album-signings/), where Jesse DeRosa wrote on 26 May 2016:
Disney Music Emporium, a pop-up store that sells collectable Disney music-related products, will be returning to the D23 Expo 2017. During the event, fans will be able to purchase new limited music releases from various Disney artists and composers.

Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection Robin Hood, a two-disc set, will be released for the first time during the expo. Disc one of the collection includes songs and score from the film. Disc two includes unreleased demos and bonus tracks performed by Louis Prima. The CD collection contains liner notes, as well as a 20-page booklet featuring new artwork inspired by Robin Hood from Lorelay Bove, a visual development artist who’s worked on various Disney films including Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph, and more. Those that purchase the collection will receive a special lithograph featuring the back cover artwork, though there will only be a limited quantity available.

Monday, June 26, 2017

CFP Medieval Monsters and Their Afterlives (9/15/17; Kalamazoo 5/10-13/18)

I'm happy to announce the following session has been approved for the next International Congress on Medieval Studies. Please submit proposals by 15 September 2017.

Past, Present, Future: Medieval Monsters and Their Afterlives
Sponsored by The Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture
53rd International Congress on Medieval Studies
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan
10-13 May 2018
Proposals due by 15 September 2017

The year 2018 marks the two-hundredth anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and, while this is certainly an important event, to celebrate it outside of its larger context is to ignore the rich history of the monstrous in Western tradition that underlies much of Shelley’s representation of the creature brought to life by Victor Frankenstein. Medieval texts, in particular, abound with monsters, and, like the creation of young Frankenstein, many of these remain prevalent in the minds (and, perhaps, fears) of modern-day audiences. Still, while Monster Studies has grown phenomenally as a discipline in recent decades, few have explored how medieval monsters, like their more modern counterparts, exist as part of an ongoing tradition from their point of origin in the medieval past to their most recent depiction in popular culture.

In furtherance of the goals of The Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture, we seek in this panel to unite Medieval Studies, Medievalism Studies, Monster Studies, and Popular Culture Studies to highlight points of contact between medieval monsters and their post-medieval representations. We hope to explore both continuity and change in addressing how these figures have been portrayed and to extrapolate from these trends to suggest how these monsters may be employed in future texts.  

Presentations will be limited to 10-15 minutes depending on panel size. If presenters are willing, The Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture hopes that accepted presenters might submit their completed papers for publication on the Medieval Studies on Screen site (https://medievalstudiesonscreen.blogspot.com/) prior to the conference to allow maximum dissemination of their ideas.

Interested individuals should submit, no later than 15 September 2017, (1) an abstract of approximately 500 words, (2) a 500-word academic biographical narrative, and (3) a completed Participant Information Form (accessible at https://wmich.edu/medievalcongress/submissions) to the organizers at MedievalStudiesonScreen@gmail.com using “Medieval Monsters and Their Afterlives” as their subject heading.

In planning your proposal, please be aware of the policies of the Congress (available at https://wmich.edu/medievalcongress/policies). 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Pavlac's Game of Thrones versus History

Game of Thrones versus History: Written in Blood
Brian A. Pavlac (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-119-24942-9
312 pages
April 2017, Wiley-Blackwell

Paperback: $18.95
E-Book: $9.99


Since it first aired in 2011, Game of Thrones galloped up the ratings to become the most watched show in HBO’s history. It is no secret that creator George R.R. Martin was inspired by late 15th century Europe when writing A Song of Ice and Fire, the sprawling saga on which the show is based. Aside from the fantastical elements, Game of Thrones really does mirror historic events and bloody battles of medieval times—but how closely?

Game of Thrones versus History: Written in Blood
is a collection of thought-provoking essays by medieval historians who explore how the enormously popular HBO series and fantasy literature of George R. R. Martin are both informed by and differ significantly from real historical figures, events, beliefs, and practices of the medieval world. From a variety of perspectives, the authors delve into Martin’s plots, characterizations, and settings, offering insights into whether his creations are historical possibilities or pure flights of fantasy.

Topics include the Wars of the Roses, barbarian colonizers, sieges and the nature of medieval warfare, women and agency, slavery, celibate societies in Westeros, myths and legends of medieval Europe, and many more. While life was certainly not a game during the Middle Ages, Game of Thrones versus History: Written in Blood reveals how a surprising number of otherworldly elements of George R. R. Martin’s fantasy are rooted deeply in the all-too-real world of medieval Europe.

Find suggested readings, recommended links, and more from editor Brian Pavlac at gameofthronesversushistory.com.

Table of Contents:

Notes on Contributors ix

Foreword by William Irwin xiii

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction: The Winter of Our Discontent 1
Brian A. Pavlac

Part I Kings, Queens, Knights, and Strategy 17

1 High and Mighty Queens of Westeros 19
Kavita Mudan Finn

2 A Machiavellian Discourse on Game of Thrones 33
Jacopo della Quercia

3 Chivalry in Westeros 47
Steven Muhlberger

4 Of Kings, Their Battles, and Castles 57
Brian A. Pavlac

Part II Slaves, Barbarians, and Other Others 71

5 Barbarian Colonizers and Postcolonialism in Westeros and Britain 73
Shiloh Carroll

6 A Defense against the “Other”: Constructing Sites on the Edge of Civilization and Savagery 85
Brian de Ruiter

7 The Eastern Question 97
Mat Hardy

8 Slaves with Swords: Slave‐Soldiers in Essos and in the Islamic World 111
Robert J. Haug

Part III Women and Children 123

9 Rocking Cradles and Hatching Dragons: Parents in Game of Thrones 125
Janice Liedl

10 “Oh, my sweet summer child”: Children and Childhood in Game of Thrones 137
Helle Strandgaard Jensen and Magnus Qvistgaard

11 Writing the Rules of Their Own Game: Medieval Female Agency and Game of Thrones 147
Nicole M. Mares

12 The Power of Sansa Stark: A Representation of Female Agency in Late Medieval England 161
Danielle Alesi

Part IV Religion 171

13 Continuity and Transformation in the Religions of Westeros and Western Europe 173
Don Riggs

14 Religious Violence in Game of Thrones: An Historical Background from Antiquity to the European Wars of Religion 185
Maureen Attali

15 Coexistence and Conflict in the Religions of Game of Thrones 195
Daniel J. Clasby

16 “I shall take no wife”: Celibate Societies in Westeros and in Western Civilization 209
Kris Swank

Part V The Background 225

17 By Whisper and Raven: Information and Communication in Game of Thrones 227
Giacomo Giudici

18 What’s in a Name? History and Fantasy in Game of Thrones 241
Sara L. Uckelman, Sonia Murphy, and Joseph Percer

19 Setting up Westeros: The Medievalesque World of Game of Thrones 251
Gillian Polack

Appendix: List of Books and Episodes 261

Index 000

About the Editor:

Brian A. Pavlac is Professor of History at King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, USA. His books include A Concise Survey of Western Civilization: Supremacies and Diversities throughout History, 2nd Edition (2nd Edition, 2015), Witch Hunts in the Western World: Persecution and Punishment from the Inquisition to the Salem Trials (2010), and Warrior Bishop of the Twelfth Century (2008).

Coming Soon: Mondschein on Game of Thrones

Advance notice:

Game of Thrones and the Medieval Art of War
Ken Mondschein

Print ISBN: 978-0-7864-9970-0
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-4766-2926-1
27 photos, notes, bibliography, index
236pp. softcover (6 x 9) 2017
Price: $19.99

Not Yet Published, Available Fall 2017 (Amazon says 11/1/17)

About the Book
George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels and HBO’s Game of Thrones series depict a medieval world at war. But how accurate are they? The author, an historian and medieval martial arts expert, examines in detail how authentically Martin’s fictional world reflects the arms and armor, fighting techniques and siege warfare of the Middle Ages. Along the way, he explores the concept of “medievalism”—modern pop culture’s idea of the Middle Ages.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Timeline ix
Introduction 1
1. No True Knights: Chivalry in Myth and the Middle Ages 11
2. A Good Way to Survive a Battle: Armor in Westeros 33
3. Dragonsteel and Wildfire: Weapons in Westeros 55
4. "Stick them with the pointy end": Fighting Arts in Westeros and the Middle Ages 75
5. The Wager of Battle: War, Duels and Tournaments 105
6. Down and Out in Westeros: The Economics of Feudal Warfare 133
7. Women Warriors of Westeros 148
8. Words and Swords: Conquest and Culture 174
9. A Medieval Atrocity Sourcebook 191
Chapter Notes 207
Further Reading 213
Index 219

About the Author
History professor, fencing master and jouster Ken Mondschein is the author of several books on medieval and Renaissance martial arts. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, and is a Visiting Fellow at the Massachusetts Center for Renaissance Studies.

Lushkov on Game of Thrones

Of potential interest:

You Win or You Die: The Ancient World of Game of Thrones
By Ayelet Haimson Lushkov
http://www.ibtauris.com/en/Books/Literature literary studies/Literature history criticism/Literary studies fiction novelists prose writers/You Win or You Die The Ancient World of Game of Thrones?menuitem={DFF51E2F-C0BA-4928-ACC4-415188DCDEE8}

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd.

ISBN: 9781784536992
Publication Date: 29 Apr 2017
Height: 203; Width: 127
£12.99 / $15.95

If the Middle Ages form the present-day backdrop to the continents of Westeros and Essos, then antiquity is their resonant past. The Known World is haunted by the remnants of distant and powerful civilizations, without whose presence the novels of George R. R. Martin and the ever popular HBO show would lose much of their meaning and appeal. In this essential sequel to Carolyne Larrington's Winter is Coming: The Medieval World of Game of Thrones, Ayelet Haimson Lushkov explores the echoes, from the Summer Islands to Storm's End, of a rich antique history. She discusses, for example, the convergence of ancient Rome and the reach, scope, and might of the Valyrian Freehold. She shows how the wanderings of Tyrion Lannister replay the journeys of Odysseus and Aeneas. She suggests that the War of the Five Kings resembles the War of the Four Emperors (68-69 AD). She also demonstrates just how the Wall and the Wildlings advancing on it connect with Hadrian's bulwark against fierce tribes of Picts. This book reveals the remarkable extent to which the entire Game of Thrones universe is animated by its ancient past.

Author Info:
Ayelet Haimson Lushkov is an Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Texas at Austin. She has wide interests in Roman history, literature, and reception. Her previous books are Magistracy and the Historiography in the Roman Republic (2015) and Reception and the Classics: An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Classical Tradition (co-edited with W Brockliss, P Chaudhuri and K Wasdin, 2012). She has written on Game of Thrones for The Guardian.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Coming Soon: Fan Phenomena: Game of Thrones

Due out later this year. No contents available yet.

Fan Phenomena: Game of Thrones
Edited by Kavita Mudan Finn

Price £28.50, $41
267 pages; 27 color plates; 7 x 9

Winter is coming. Every Sunday night, millions of fans gather around their televisions to take in the spectacle that is a new episode of Game of Thrones. Much is made of who will be gruesomely murdered each week on the hit show, though sometimes the question really is who won’t die a fiery death. The show, based on the Song of Ice and Fire series written by George R. R. Martin, is a truly global phenomenon.

With the seventh season of the HBO series in production, Game of Thrones has been nominated for multiple awards, its cast has been catapulted to celebrity, and references to it proliferate throughout popular culture. Often positioned as the grittier antithesis to J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Martin’s narrative focuses on the darker side of chivalry and heroism, stripping away these higher ideals to reveal the greed, amorality, and lust for power underpinning them.

Fan Phenomena: Game of Thrones is an exciting new addition to the Intellect series, bringing together academics and fans of Martin’s universe to consider not just the content of the books and HBO series, but fan responses to both. From trivia nights dedicated to minutiae to forums speculating on plot twists to academics trying to make sense of the bizarre climate of Westeros, everyone is talking about Game of Thrones. Edited by Kavita Mudan Finn, the book focuses on the communities created by the books and television series and how these communities envision themselves as consumers, critics, and even creators of fanworks in a wide variety of media, including fiction, art, fancasting, and cosplay.

New Book: Fan Phenomena: The Lord of the Rings

Fan Phenomena: The Lord of the Rings
Edited by Lorna Piatti-Farnell

ISBN: 9781783205158 1783205156
156 pages; illustrated in color throughout; 6 1/2 x 9 1/2; © 2015

Now Available
Price £28.50, $41

Few if any books come close to being as beloved—or as ubiquitous—as J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Best-sellers for decades, they became even more popular on the heels of Peter Jackson’s Oscar-winning film adaptations. And throughout, fans have not only read the books, they’ve engaged with them, building one of the most active and creative fan communities in the world.

This entry in the Fan Phenomena series offers the best look we’ve had yet at the fan culture surrounding The Lord of the Rings. Academically informed, but written for the general reader, the book delves into such topics as the philosophy of the series and its fans, the distinctions between the films’ fans and the books’ fans, the process of adaptation, the role of New Zealand in the translation of words to images (and the resulting Lord of the Rings tourism), and much, much more. Lavishly illustrated, it is guaranteed to appeal to anyone who has ever closed the last page of The Return of the King and wished the journey didn't have to end.
Part of the Fan Phenomena series
Lorna Piatti-Farnell

Making Fantasy Matter: The Lord of the Rings and the Legitimization of Fantasy Cinema
Alexander Sergeant

The Lord of the Rings:
One Digital Fandom to Initiate Them All
Maggie Parke

Reforging the Rings: Fan Edits and The Cinematic Middle-earth
Joshua Wille

Walking Between Two Lands, or How Double Canon Works in the Lord of the Rings Fan Films
Miguel Ángel  Pérez-Gómez

One Party Business: True-fan Celebrations in New Zealand’s Middle-earth
Lorna Piatti-Farnell

There, Here and Back Again: The Search for Middle-earth in Birmingham
Emily M. Gary

Looking for Lothiriel: The Presence of Women in Tolkien Fandom
Cait Coker and Karen Viars

Lord of the Franchise: The Lord of the Rings, IP Rights and Policing Appropriation
Paul Mountfort

Writing the Star: The Lord of the Rings and the Production of Star Narratives
Anna Martin

Understanding Fans’ ‘Precious’: The Impact of the Lord of the Rings Films on the Hobbit Movies
Abigail G. Scheg

Contributor Details

Image Credits

Francis on Eli Stone!

I was excited to see this piece in the latest issue of SMART. Francis always has interesting things to say about how modern texts use the medieval. Copies of the journal can be purchased from the publisher at http://webs.wichita.edu/?u=smart&p=.

Francis, Christina. “The Usefulness of Eli Stone to Teaching Medieval Narrative.” Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching, vol. 26, no. 2, Fall 2016, pp. 133-43. 

Details on the Eli Stone series can be found on Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eli_Stone.

Ambrisco on Beowulf and Grendel

A recent issue of Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching featured the following essay on the film Beowulf and Grendel. Back issues of the journal can be ordered from the publisher at http://webs.wichita.edu/?u=smart&p=.

Ambrisco, Alan S. “Battling Monstrosity in Beowulf and Grendel (2005): Using a Film Adaptation to Teach Beowulf.” Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching, vol. 23, no. 1, Spring 2016, pp. 29-40.

Chaucer on Screen Contents

The following contents list for Kathleen Coyne Kelly and Tison Pugh's new book Chaucer on Screen: Absence, Presence, and Adapting the Canterbury Tales is based on that in WorldCat (http://www.worldcat.org/title/chaucer-on-screen-absence-presence-and-adapting-the-canterbury-tales/oclc/945948419). A PDF of the complete contents pages can be accessed from the publisher at https://ohiostatepress.org/books/BookPages/kelly_pugh_chaucer.html.

It looks to be a fairly complete volume. Too bad its priced at $94.95(though a PDF version is offered for $19.95, if you can live without a physical book). 

Foreword / Terry Jones

Introduction / Kathleen Coyne Kelly and Tison Pugh

Naked yet invisible: filming Chaucer's narrator / Elizabeth Scala --
"The play's the thing": the cinematic fortunes of Chaucer and Shakespeare / Susan Aronstein and Peter Parolin --
Chaucer, film, and the desert of the real; or, why Geoffrey Chaucer will never be Jane Austen / Larry Scanlon --
Profit, politics, and prurience; or, why Chaucer is bad box office / Kathleen Forni --

Chaucer and the moving image in pre-World War II America / Lynn Arner --
Lost Chaucer: Natalie Wood's "The deadly riddle" and the golden age of American television / Candace Barrington --

Chaucerian history and cinematic perversions in Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's A Canterbury tale / Tison Pugh --
Idols of the marketplace: Chaucer/Pasolini / Kathryn L. Lynch --
"Sorry, Chaucer": mixed feelings and Hyapatia Lee's Ribald tales of Canterbury / George Shuffelton --
The naked truth: Chaucerian spectacle in Brian Helgeland's A knight's tale / Sian Echard --

Putting the second first: the BBC "Miller's tale" / Steve Ellis --
Midlife sex and the BBC "Wife of Bath" / Sarah Stanbury --
Serving time: the BBC "Knight's tale" in the prison-house of free adaptation / Louise D'Arcens --
The color of money: the BBC "Sea captain's tale" / Kathleen Coyne Kelly --
Sex, plague, and resonance: reflections on the BBC "Pardoner's tale" / Arthur Bahr --
Time, memory, and desire in the BBC "Man of law's tale" / Kathleen Davis --

Marketing Chaucer: Mad men and the Wife of Bath / Laurie Finke and Martin B. Shichtman.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Medieval Studies on TV Update

I was remiss in posting notice of the following session in a timely manner. My apologies to the presenters and area chairs.

27th Annual Conference of the Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Association
Tropicana Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey
3-5 November 2016

Friday, 4 November 2016
Session II (11:00 AM – 12:15 PM)
Medieval Studies on TV (Beowulf to Shakespeare: Popular Culture in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance I) (Bongo 1)
Sponsored by the Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture
Organized by Michael A. Torregrossa

Presider: Diana Vecchio (Widener University)

Paper 1: Game On: The Medievalism of Television Golf Tournaments
Martha Oberle (Independent Scholar)

Paper 2: No Such Thing as Bad Press: Christian Conversion Narrative in the Popular Culture Series Vikings
Jennifer Veronica Agnes MacLellan (Háskóli Íslands)

Paper 3: The Evolving Realism of the Trebuchet from Excalibur to Game of Thrones
Scott Manning (American Military University)