"In the Middle Ages visual communication was, for the masses, more important than writing. But Chartres Cathedral was not culturally inferior to the Imago Mundi of Honorius of Autun. Cathedrals were the TV of those times, and the difference from our TV was that the directors of the medieval TV – read: good books – had a lot of imagination, and worked for the public profit (or, at least, for what they believed to be public profit)."
(Umberto Eco, 1996)
Middle Ages are not far from Modernity, or from Post-Modernity.
This premise is valid and easy to attest in the many forms (and trans-formations) medieval narrative has taken to still appeal to contemporary audiences.
It is clearly the case of endless rewritings of medieval legends to be found in authors such as Iris Murdoch (The Green Knight, 1993); Stephen Lawhead with his immersion in the Arthurian imagery on the Pendragon Cycle and his many medieval themed novels, such as Byzantium, 1996; or George Martin, (A Song of Ice and Fire, 1991).
These rewritings have also taken the screen; a long list of films on Arthurian legend started in 1904 with a silent film by Edwin S. Porter, Parsifal, and has been increasing with countless and essential titles such as Excalibur (John Boorman, 1981), Prince Valiant (Anthony Hickox, 1997) or the soon to be released in 2017 King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (by Guy Richie).
Outside the Arthurian imaginary, there are landmark film features dealing with medieval themes such as the fundamental The Seventh Seal (Ingmar Bergman, 1957); The Name of the Rose, 1986, by Jean-Jacques Annaud, based on Umberto Eco’s eponymous novel; the film adaptations of J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy works The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003) and The Hobbit (2012-2014); or the many versions of Robin Hood’s tale, the last one directed by Ridley Scott in 2010.
The dissemination of new productions for television in the last decades of the 20th century included many medieval inspired shows. This is the case of Ivanhoe (1997) mini-series based on the novel with the same name by Walter Scott; Les Rois Maudits (2005), remake of a 1972 mini-series that adapted the novel by Maurice Druon with the same name; Pillars of the Earth (2010), series based on Ken Follet’s novel with the same title; or Game of Thrones (2011), a fantasy drama based on the already mentioned series of novels by George Martin.
Popular music is also inspired by medieval themes, instruments and traditons. The second half of the 20th century witnessed the rise of what is called Neo-Medieval Music. Its core elements range from classical interpretation of medieval music to a complete blending of medieval instruments with modern styles such as electronic music or rock. This is the case of groups such as Corvus Corax and In Extremo (German bands), The Moon and the Nightspirit from Hungary or even the Portuguese groups Strella do Dia and Origo.
Medieval is also a term borrowed by the gaming industry from historical studies. The gaming community and producers are medieval enthusiasts and avid consumers of medieval material for the creation of their themes, avatars and general game routines.
There is still a great amount of work being done on medieval texts per se. From the study of manuscripts (now more accessible due to many digital catalogues such as the British Library, Vienna Library, Santiago de Compostela University Library, etc.) to the edition of medieval texts, many scholars dedicate their lives to medieval studies.
All these who enjoy medieval lore can do it due to the passionate and enduring work in such disciplines as the study of historiography, hagiography or literary studies but also through the hard work of making these texts available and present in the future memory of other cultures. This is achieved by the often forgotten hand of the translator.
On this International Conference, we aim at looking again to the Medieval Studies within its many fields of study. Middle Ages will be discussed in its various modern shapes: as source, as text or – still – as object of work by translators.
We are welcoming 20 minute paper abstracts on:
1 – Middle-Ages as source for contemporary Art: Literature, Music, Screen, etc.
2 – Medieval Studies today – their pertinence as a field of study.
3 – Medieval Translation – theory, challenges.
Abstracts of 250 words in English or Portuguese should include name of the speaker, affiliation, title of the paper, contact details and short bio note. Please send them to the conference email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Prof. David Matthews (University of Manchester);
- Prof. Graça Videira Lopes (Instituto de Estudos Medievais, FCSHUNL);
- Prof. Elisa Lessa (ILCH, UM);
- Prof. Pedro Dono Lopez (CEHUM, ILCH).
- Maria Filomena Louro (ILCH, Universidade do Minho)
- Tânia Azevedo (PhD researcher, CEHUM)