English | Projects in Reading & Writing: the Legacy of the Medieval in Modern Culture
W170 | 16037 | Erwin
• 16037 9:05-9:55a MWF WH 006
The legacy of the Middle Ages remains prominent in our cultural
mythology, and the idea of the medieval links such seemingly
different phenomena as the goth movement and the war on terrorism.
Modern culture often uses both positive and negative visions of the
Middle Ages to shape its ideas about itself: witness the invocation
the medieval Black Death in relation to bioterrorism warnings, or
the continuing use of the phrase “knight in shining armor” to label
ideal masculinity. In this class, we will pursue an inquiry into the
various ways in which the medieval is employed in popular culture.
In other words, we will investigate how modern Western culture tries
to define its own values by imagining its relationship to its
medieval past. We will examine a range of sources, including films,
popular fiction, and modern subcultures influenced by ideas of the
medieval, in order to take in many different views of the Middle
Ages at work in our current culture.