Saturday, July 04, 2009

Queer Movie Medievalisms

by J J Cohen

Out (so to speak) this month. I blurbed this a while back so I got to read the galleys: it's a solid collection of essays that accomplishes innovative work. You'll also notice many ITM favorite writers here as well.

From the Ashgate website, where you can download the introduction and ToC:

How is history even possible, since it involves recapturing a past already lost? It is through this urge to understand, feel and experience, that films based on medieval history are made. They attempt to re-create the past, but can only do so through a queer re-visioning that inevitably replicates modernity. In these mediations between past and present, history becomes misty, and so, too, do constructions of gender and sexuality leading to the impossibility of heterosexuality, or of any sexuality, predicated upon cinematic medievalism. Queer Movie Medievalisms is the first book of its kind to grapple with the ways in which mediations between past and present, as registered on the silver screen, queerly undercut assumptions about sexuality throughout time. It will be of great interest to scholars of Gender and Sexuality, Cultural and Media Studies, Film Studies and Medieval History.

Introduction: queer history, cinematic medievalism, and the impossibility of sexuality, Kathleen Coyne Kelly and Tison Pugh; The law of the daughter: queer family politics in Bertrand Tavernier's La Passion Béatrice, Lisa Manter; Queering the Lionheart: Richard I in The Lion in Winter on stage and screen, R. Barton Palmer; 'He's not a ardent suitor, is he, brother?': Richard the Lionheart's ambiguous sexuality in Cecil B. DeMille's The Crusades (1935), Lorraine Kochanske Stock; 'In the company of orcs': Peter Jackson's queer Tolkein, Jane Chance; The Eastern Western: camp as a response to cultural failure in The Conqueror, Anna Klosowska; 'In my own idiom': social critique, campy gender, and queer performance in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Susan Aronstein; Performance, camp, and queering history in Luc Besson's Jeanne d'Arc, Susan Hayward; Sean Connery's star persona and the queer Middle Ages, Tison Pugh; Will Rogers' pink spot: A Connecticut Yankee (1931), Kathleen Coyne Kelly; Danny Kaye and the 'fairy tale' of queerness in The Court Jester, Martha Bayless; Mourning and sexual difference in Hans-Jürgen Syberbergs's Parsifal, Michelle Bolduc; Superficial medievalism and the queer futures of film, Cary Howie; Afterword, Glenn Burger and Steven F. Kruger; Index.

About the Editors:
Kathleen Coyne Kelly is Professor of English at Northeastern University, USA; Tison Pugh is Associate Professor of English at the University of Central Florida, USA

'Through readings of films familiar and obscure, foreign and domestic, recent and classic, Queer Movie Medievalisms challenges us to think deeply about how heterosexuality works and how it inevitably fails, about how a film offers not just multiple points of audience identification but multiple cohabitating times. A superb collection of essays, with an especially provocative afterword by Glenn Burger and Steve Kruger. I commend Tison Pugh and Kathleen Coyne Kelly for producing so valuable and timely a volume.'
Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, George Washington University, USA

'Queer Movie Medievalisms stands alone in the intense and far-ranging (pink) spotlight it deploys to examine cinematic encounters with the so-called "Dark Ages." Combining impeccable scholarship and enthusiastic engagement, the essays in this volume consider how "the medieval" becomes a destabilizing queer space for a range of American and European stars and films.'
Alex Doty, Indiana University, USA

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