Premodern Rulers and Postmodern Viewers

Gender, Sex, and Power in Popular Culture

  • Janice North
  • Karl C. Alvestad
  • Elena Woodacre

Part of the Queenship and Power book series (QAP)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Janice North, Elena Woodacre, Karl C. Alvestad
    Pages 1-19
  3. Reappraising Female Rulers in the Light of Modern Feminism(s)

  4. Questions of Adaptation: Bringing Premodern Queens to the Page and Screen

  5. Undermining Authority: Rulers with Conflicted Gender and Sexual Identities

  6. Back Matter
    Pages 341-351

About this book


Pop culture portrayals of medieval and early modern monarchs are rife with tension between authenticity and modern mores, producing anachronisms such as a feminist Queen Isabel (in RTVE’s Isabel) and a lesbian Queen Christina (in The Girl King). This book examines these anachronisms as a dialogue between premodern and postmodern ideas about gender and sexuality, raising questions of intertemporality, the interpretation of history, and the dangers of presentism. Covering a range of famous and lesser-known European monarchs on screen, from Elizabeth I to Muhammad XII of Granada, this book addresses how the lives of powerful women and men have been mythologized in order to appeal to today’s audiences. The contributors interrogate exactly what is at stake in these portrayals; namely, our understanding of premodern rulers, the gender and sexual ideologies they navigated, and those that we navigate today. 


Medievalism Women's history presentism medieval film and television premodern rulers in popular culture early modern queenship Empress Matilda Isabella of Angoulême medievalism and feminist ideology gender in The White Queen Juana I Queen Christina Elizabeth I in film Muhammad XI Olaf II Haraldsson

Editors and affiliations

  • Janice North
    • 1
  • Karl C. Alvestad
    • 2
  • Elena Woodacre
    • 3
  1. 1.AltoonaUSA
  2. 2.Department of HistoryUniversity of WinchesterWinchesterUnited Kingdom
  3. 3.Department of HistoryUniversity of WinchesterWinchesterUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2018
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-68770-4
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-68771-1
  • Buy this book on publisher's site