Publication Details

D'Arcens, L, 'Screening early Europe: premodern projections', Screening the Past, 2009, no. 26.


The study of screen representations of early Europe is a growing area that has come in recent years to occupy a vital place within the various disciplines of early European studies, especially in medieval studies and, to a lesser degree, in Classics and early modern studies. From encyclopaedias of medievalist films such as Kevin J. Harty’s The Reel Middle Ages (1999) and such other punningly-titled studies as Knight at the Movies (John Aberth, 2003), through to studies of medieval heroism on screen (Harty’s Cinema Arthuriana, 2002, Driver and Ray’s The Medieval Hero on Screen, 2004), and recent enquiries into the ideological and epistemological complexities of representing the European past (Ramey and Pugh’s Race, Class, and Gender in “Medieval” Cinema, 2007, Haydock’s Movie Medievalism, 2008), this is an undoubted growth area that has gained in nuance and sophistication as it has gathered momentum.[1] Despite its vibrancy and interdisciplinary potential, however, one of the central drawbacks of much current work on cinematic treatments of early Europe is that its insights are directed squarely back into the enclave of the historical disciplines, where it is read primarily by historians and literary scholars. This issue of Screening the Past aims to move beyond this enclave by bringing the work of Early Europeanists, particularly medievalists, into a new dialogue with the field of screen studies and the emerging area of film-philosophy, reaching out to audiences with a primary interest and expertise in screen studies. It is vital that we as scholars of the ‘early European screen’ come, as our field matures, to treat the nuances of screen study with as much care as we bring to our analysis of historical representation, and that we submit our ideas to the responses and judgements of our colleagues in the screen study disciplines as well as our own immediate colleagues.

Link to publisher version (URL)

La Trobe University