Scholars in this volume and elsewhere have argued that the films of Walt Disney present a unique vision of the Middle Ages,l and that, as a result, the Disney brand of medievalism influences legions of children introduced to Disney’s animated films, theme parks, and merchandise each year. However, a question remains: to what degree is this true? It is well enough to state, based on theory, anecdote, or conjecture, that Disney films influence our cultural understandings of the Middle Ages. But without evidence confirming this influence and exploring its nuances, assertions about the effects of Disney’s medievalisms are provisional at best.
- Popular Culture
- Fairy Tale
- Theme Park
- Female Protagonist
- Male Protagonist
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See, for example, Robin Allan, Walt Disney and Europe: European Influences on the Animated Feature Films of Walt Disney (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999),
and Maria Sachiko Cecire, “Medievalism, Popular Culture, and National Identity in Children’s Fantasy Literature,” Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism 9.3 (2009): 394–409.
George Scarlett and Dennie Wolf, “When It’s Only Make-believe: The Construction of a Boundary between Fantasy and Reality in Storytelling,” New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development 6 (1979): 29–40, at 37.
Robyn McCallulm, “Identity Politics and Gender in Disney Animated Films,” Ways of Being Male, ed. John Stephens (London: Routledge, 2002), 116–32, at 117.
Susan Jeffords, Hard Bodies: Hollywood Masculinity in the Reagan Era (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1994), 153.
Mila Contini, Fashion: From Ancient Egypt to the Present Day (London: Hamlyn, 1965), 183–87.
Francois Boucher, A History of Costume in the West, trans. John Ross (London: Thames & Hudson, 1997), 372–77.
Aida Pérez, “Shrek: The Animated Fairy-Tale Princess Reinvented,” F’fty Years of English Studies in Spain, ed. Ignacio Martinez, et al. (Santiago de Compostela: Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, 2003), 281–86, at 281.
Henry Giroux, The Mouse That Roared: Disney and the End of Innocence (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999), 98–99.
Elizabeth Bell, Lynda Haas, and Laura Sells, ed., From Mouse to Mermaid: The Politics of Film, Gender, and Culture (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995), 110.
B. C. Southam, ed. Jane Austen: The Critical Heritage, 1870–1940 (London: Routledge, 1987), 59–60.
Editors and Affiliations
© 2012 Tison Pugh and Susan Aronstein
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Sturtevant, P. (2012). “You don’t Learn It Deliberately, But You Just Know It from What You’ve Seen”: British Understandings of the Medieval Past Gleaned from Disney’s Fairy Tales. In: Pugh, T., Aronstein, S. (eds) The Disney Middle Ages. The New Middle Ages. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137066923_5
Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, New York
Print ISBN: 978-1-349-34266-2
Online ISBN: 978-1-137-06692-3