Visions and ruins

Cultural memory and the untimely Middle Ages

By Joshua Davies

Visions and ruins


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-2593-4
  • Pages: 240
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: April 2018
  • BIC Category: LITERARY CRITICISM / Medieval, Society & social sciences / Cultural studies, Literature, Medieval Literature, Literary studies: ancient & classical, Cultural studies, POETRY / Medieval, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: classical, early & medieval
  • Series: Manchester Medieval Literature and Culture


Visions and ruins explores the production of cultural memory in the Middle Ages and the uses the medieval past has been put to in modernity. Working with texts in Old English, Middle English and Latin, as well as visual and material culture, it traces connections in time, place, language and media to explore the temporal complexities of cultural production and subject formation. The book interrogates critical, poetic, artistic and political archives to reveal exchanges of cultural energy and influence between past and present, offering new ways of knowing the medieval past and the contemporary moment.


'.a timely contribution to current debates about the relevance of the Middle Ages to contemporary political discourse. It is a thoughtful and meditative rumination on the various ways that the idea of medievalism functions within modernity, ranging from the dark underbelly of right-wing nationalism, which co-opts the medieval as a singular site of originary ethnicity, to the hopeful, almost utopian work of contemporary artists, who deploy an atemporal medievalism to bridge the difference between multiple pasts, presents, and futures.'

'this is an engaging book written by a scholar who is immersed in the languages of his texts, the history of his monuments, the scholarship on them, and has managed to produce a book that offers something new to Medieval Studies while also being accessible to a range of audiences, if they are up to the task.'
The Medieval Review


1 Ruins and wonders: the politics of cultural memory in and of early medieval England
2 Queen Eleanor and her crosses: trauma and memory, medieval and modern
3 Medievalist double consciousness and the production of difference: medieval bards, cultural memory and nationalist fantasy
4 The language of gesture: untimely bodies and contemporary performance
Afterword: migrations


Joshua Davies is Lecturer in Medieval Literature at King's College London

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