#MedievalStudies: “A raiding island culture in a fantasy series immediately conjures Vikings …
“A raiding island culture in a fantasy series immediately conjures Vikings—and even prompts formal argument in favor of that impression—bespeaking a decidedly Northern and Western European bias. Recognizing and negotiating that bias to show that these figures were more likely inspired by the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest allows for a broader conception of what the genre can be and do.” – Helen Young in her introduction of Geoffrey B. Elliott’s fascinating chapter, “Moving Beyond Tolkien’s Medievalism,” in the new book Fantasy and Science-Fiction Medievalisms.
According to Geoffrey B. Elliott, “Given that fantasy literature is often the avenue through which readers begin to investigate the medieval, moving away from a narrow set of expectations of the genre permits a broader conception of what the medieval can be, helping to promote a cross-cultural understanding increasingly valuable in an interconnected and pop-culture-saturated world.”
In his fascinating chapter, Elliott “offers two readings of the milieu of Robin Hobb’s Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies. The first aligns with the expectations set up by the Tolkienian tradition of fantasy literature. The second moves away from that tradition, highlighting the Pacific Northwestern elements of the milieu and the greater degree to which they manifest in the Out Islands than do those more common to mainstream fantasy literature.”
Dr. Elliott will be presiding over the sessions “Looking Back at the Middle Ages” (Thursday at 10 a.m.) and “From Frodo to Fidelma: Medievalisms in Popular Genres” (Saturday at 1:30 p.m.) and presenting at the session “Martin and More: Genre Medievalisms” (Saturday at 3:30 p.m.) this week at the 50th International Congress on Medieval Studies. Be sure to catch his sessions and get a flyer from him for this new book.
You can also download the flyer for Fantasy and Science-Fiction Medievalisms. This book is in the Cambria Studies in Classicism, Orientalism, and Medievalism book series (General Editor: Nickolas A. Haydock).
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See the Cambria Press website for more books.