The Medieval Hero on Screen: Representations from Beowulf to Buffy
Scholars from a variety of disciplines contribute to this collection of essays. Five sections explore the topics of historic authenticity, heroic children and the lessons they impart, female heroes, the hero’s weapon, and teaching the medieval movie. Essay titles range from the thoughtful (Michael Torregrossa’s “The Way of the Wizard: Reflections of Merlin on Film”) to the scholarly (David Salo’s “Heroism and Alienation through Language in The Lord of the Rings”) to the whimsical (Caroline Jewers’s “Hard Day’s Knights: First Knight, A Knight’s Tale, and Black Knight”).The reader looking for a serious study of the book’s topic may be disappointed by the diffuse nature of the subjects covered, an odd off-putting preface, and in the female half of the children’s section, one might learn more about the career of moppet Shirley Temple than one’s ever cared to know. But there are gems to reward the diligent about the elements that contribute to the illusion of medieval realism by way of William F. Woods, wonderful suggestions for teaching the medieval movie from Martha W. Driver, and an expanded view of the medieval hero that includes spaghetti westerns, space operas, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Thirty two black and white photos illuminate the text.