Medieval Fantasy as Performance: The Society for Creative Anachronism and the Current Middle Ages

Medieval Fantasy as Performance: The Society for Creative Anachronism and the Current Middle Ages

by Michael A. Cramer

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Overview

In this book, Michael Cramer views the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), an organization that studies and recreates the middle ages, as a case study for a growing fascination with medieval fantasy in popular culture. He explores the act of medieval re-creation as performance by focusing on the SCA, describing the group's activities, investigating its place in popular culture, and looking at the SCA not so much as a historical society but as an on-going work of performance art; a postmodern counter-culture riff on what it means to be "medieval." Cramer examines the group's activities, from persona and character development to theatrical performance and personal interaction; from the complex official ceremonies to full contact armored combat with mock broadswords. He explores the SCA in detail to discover how its members adapt and employ ideas about the Middle Ages in performance, ritual reenactment, living history, and re-creation, analyzing the performance of identity through ritual, sport, drama, and personal interaction, and he focuses on the reconstruction of the medieval "king game," a game in which a mock king is chosen to reign over a mock court. The book also studies various ideas about medievalism, including the contrast between reenactment and re-creation, and places these activities in the context of contemporary American society. With three appendixes, a bibliography, and a selection of photos, Cramer demonstrates how and why medieval fantasy is increasingly used in popular culture and analyzes the dissatisfaction with contemporary culture that leads people into these realms of fantasy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780810869950
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 12/29/2009
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 230
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Michael A. Cramer is an actor, director, filmmaker, and scholar, and he teaches communications and theatre at the City University of New York. He has published articles and reviews in Theatre Journal, Medievalism, and Sixteenth Century Journal.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction ix

Chapter 1 A Brief History of the SCA 1

Chapter 2 Creative Medievalism 18

Chapter 3 Interpersonal Performance 50

Chapter 4 On the Field of the Summer King 88

Chapter 5 In the Hall of the Winter King 131

Chapter 6 Conclusion 173

Appendix I SCA Kingdoms 176

Appendix II Major Wars 179

Appendix III SCA History According to Olsgaard 180

Bibliography 183

Index 190

About the Author 201

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