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5533Re: [mythsoc] Why the middle ages are so popular in fiction

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  • juliet@firinn.org
    Mar 8, 2002
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      On Fri, Mar 08, 2002 at 12:52:59PM -0500, Stolzi@... wrote:
      > Jamaq wrote
      >
      > > > So I ask again--why so much fantasy set in the medieval milieu rather
      > > > than,
      > > > say, that of ancient Rome or the 18th century?
      >
      > Some possible reasons: The =clothes= are just the best. :)
      >
      > The romantic atmosphere which is induced: the first English romantics, in
      > fact, looked back to medievalism. That produces the further question, of
      > course, "why did they do so?"
      >
      > The poetry of the Church, combined with the poetry of a good deal of
      > still-remembered paganism (magic wells, fairies lurking in the woods, all
      > that kind of thing).
      >
      > The strong influence of Malory, maybe?
      >
      > I think there's room for a good serious literary study, here.

      I think Don Quixote should provide some clues to this question. Don
      Quixote seems to be motivated by a desire to be larger-than-life, and to
      have dramatic adventures. On the other hand, medieval literature
      doesn't have so much of the brain-splattering yuck factor of earlier
      literature such as the Iliad. (I just finished reading it and am
      convinced that 75% of it deals solely with who stabbed whom where
      and what organs were squished as a result.) The difference becomes
      very evident when one reads something like the Mabinogion, with its
      combination of ancient Celtic legend and Norman romance.

      But why does an author who does want to write more of the gory details
      stay with a medieval millieu? Don Quixote can provide at least one
      good reason. It's what the author is used to, as a result of reading
      lots of medieval fantasies. It just seems natural.
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