Here the editors review the long history of medievalism, starting with its origins as a period designation and continuing to survey its use in contemporary public discourse as a term of political opprobrium, and its influence as a source of inspiration and creativity in cultural and artistic endeavour in the twenty-first century. An overarching historical narrative of medievalism is therefore sketched out, in order that the detailed studies of individual chapters may be better contextualised. It is suggested that medievalism remains one of the main tropes by which the West figures itself as ‘modern’, and governs its relationship with the rest of the globe.
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