Medieval Imagery in Today’s Politics

Daniel Wollenberg examines how and why the medieval past is manipulated and deployed as a means to certain political ends today, especially by writers and politicians on the far right.


£12.95 ISBN-13: 9781942401407
SKU: M-77101-99115-36-6817 Category: Tags: , , ,

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Daniel Wollenberg

The election of fringe political parties on the far and extreme right across Europe since spring 2014 has brought the political discourse of “old Europe” and “tradition” to the foreground. Writers and politicians on the right have called for the reclamation, rediscovery, and return of the spirit of national identities rooted in the medieval past. Though the “medieval” is often deployed as a stigmatic symbol of all that is retrograde, against modernity, and barbaric, the medieval is increasingly being sought as a bedrock of tradition, heritage, and identity. Both characterizations – the medieval as violent other and the medieval as vital foundation – are mined and studied in this book. It examines contemporary political uses of the Middle Ages to ask why the medieval continues to play such a prominent role in the political and historical imagination today.



1. Getting Political
2. Extremes: The Middle Ages on the Fringe
3. Inheritance, Roots, Traditions: Discovering Medieval Origins
4. Anxious Returns: The New Feudalism and New Medievalism
Postscript: The Eternal Return of the Medieval
Further Reading

Reviewer Quote(s)

“[A] lively, authoritative, thorough, persuasive, and insightful study of the ways in which the medieval has come to be exploited in the service of modern political movements.”, Andrew Elliott, Medievally Speaking, 6 October 2018