Publication Details

D'Arcens, L, Book Review, Richard Utz and Tom Shippey (eds), Medievalism and the Modern World: Essays in Honour of Leslie Workman, Prolepsis: The Heidelberg Journal for English Studies (online), 2000. Original item available


As an area of enquiry, the academic study of medievalism has seemed constitutionally, and indeed institutionally, marginal. Neither fish nor fowl, its interdisciplinarity has long consigned it in the eyes of many medievalists to the shadowy realm of para-disciplinarity, seemingly doomed to the task of merely commenting on the work of others. In recent years, however, Anglophone medieval studies has witnessed the growing momentum of what might be called a "medievalist turn". The emergence of numerous studies of the historical and political forces buttressing the emergence of the discipline, along with the biographical studies of Helen Damico and Norman Cantor, have encouraged us not only to situate reflexivity at the heart of our critical and methodological practices but also to locate ourselves within an ever-changing tradition of historical interpretation. Nevertheless, as the editors of Medievalism in the Modern World remind us, the study of the "post-medieval reinvention of medieval culture" (4) is no 1990s debutante, but has been making steady if embattled headway since the mid-1970s, growing up in the cracks between disciplines, largely due to the energy and commitment of Leslie Workman, founder and former editor of Studies in Medievalism.