The United States of Medievalism

Edited by Tison Pugh and Susan Aronstein

© 2021

The United States of Medievalism contemplates the desires, dreams, and contradictions inherent in experiencing the Middle Ages in a nation that is so temporally, spatially, and at times politically removed from them. The European Middle Ages have long influenced the national landscape of the United States through the medieval sites that permeate its self-announced republican landscapes and cities. Today, American-built medievalisms continue to shape the nation’s communities, collapsing the binaries between past and present, medieval and modern, European and American.

The volume’s chapters visit the nation’s many medieval-inspired spaces, from Sherwood Forest in Texas to California’s San Andreas Fault. Stops are made in New York City’s churches, Boston’s gardens, Philadelphia’s Bryn Athyn Cathedral, Orlando’s Magic Kingdom, Appalachian highways, Minnesota’s Viking Villages, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and the Las Vegas Strip. As Pugh, Aronstein, and their fellow essayists take the reader on this cross-country trip across the United States, they ponder the cultural work done by the nation’s medievalized spaces.

In its exploration of a seemingly distant period, this collection challenges the underexamined legacy of the Middle Ages on the western side of the Atlantic. Full of intriguing case studies and reflections, this book is informative reading for anyone interested in the contemporary vestiges of the Middle Ages.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 368 pages
  • Illustrations: 60
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
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    ISBN 9781487525088
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Quick Overview

This fascinating collection explores America’s appropriations and fabrications of the Middle Ages, revealing the nation’s complicated love affair with a past it never had, but has created from history and imagination.

The United States of Medievalism

Edited by Tison Pugh and Susan Aronstein

© 2021

The United States of Medievalism contemplates the desires, dreams, and contradictions inherent in experiencing the Middle Ages in a nation that is so temporally, spatially, and at times politically removed from them. The European Middle Ages have long influenced the national landscape of the United States through the medieval sites that permeate its self-announced republican landscapes and cities. Today, American-built medievalisms continue to shape the nation’s communities, collapsing the binaries between past and present, medieval and modern, European and American.

The volume’s chapters visit the nation’s many medieval-inspired spaces, from Sherwood Forest in Texas to California’s San Andreas Fault. Stops are made in New York City’s churches, Boston’s gardens, Philadelphia’s Bryn Athyn Cathedral, Orlando’s Magic Kingdom, Appalachian highways, Minnesota’s Viking Villages, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and the Las Vegas Strip. As Pugh, Aronstein, and their fellow essayists take the reader on this cross-country trip across the United States, they ponder the cultural work done by the nation’s medievalized spaces.

In its exploration of a seemingly distant period, this collection challenges the underexamined legacy of the Middle Ages on the western side of the Atlantic. Full of intriguing case studies and reflections, this book is informative reading for anyone interested in the contemporary vestiges of the Middle Ages.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 368 pages
  • Illustrations: 60
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
  • Author Information

    Tison Pugh is Pegasus Professor in the Department of English at the University of Central Florida.


    Susan Aronstein is a professor of English and Honors at the University of Wyoming.
  • Table of contents

    Introduction
    Built in the United States of America: Constructing a Medieval Past
    Tison Pugh and Susan Aronstein

    Part I: Building the American Middle Ages

    1. Translatio Horti: Medievalized Gardens in Boston and Cambridge
    Kathleen Coyne Kelly

    2. Bryn Athyn Cathedral and Glencairn – and Philadelphia’s Other Medieval(ist) Jewels
    Kevin J. Harty

    3. The Masonic Medievalism of Washington, D.C.
    Laurie Finke

    4. Medieval Chicago: Architecture, Patronage, and Capital at the Fin de Si├Ęcle
    Alfred Thomas

    Part II: Living in the American Middle Ages

    5. Three Vignettes and a White Castle: Knighthood and Race in Modern Atlanta
    Richard Utz

    6. Medieval New York City: A Walk through The Stations of the Cross
    Candace Barrington

    7. Minnesota Medieval: Dragons, Knights, and Runestones
    Jana K. Schulman

    8. “I yearned for a strange land and a people that had the charm of originality”: Searching for Salvation in Medieval Appalachia
    Alison Gulley

    9. Wounded Landscapes: Topographies of Franciscan Spirituality and Deep Ecology in California Medievalism
    Lowell Gallagher

    Part III: Playing in the American Middle Ages

    10. Orlando’s Medieval Heritage Project
    Tison Pugh and Susan Aronstein

    11. Saints and Sinners: New Orleans’s Medievalisms
    Usha Vishnuvajjala and Candace Barrington

    12. Sherwood Forest Faire: Evoking Medieval May-Games, Robin Hood Revels, and Twentieth-Century “Pleasure Faires” in Contemporary Texas
    Lorraine Kochanske Stock

    13. Las Vegas: Getting Medieval in Sin City
    Laurie Finke and Martin Shichtman

    Notes on Contributors

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