The dragon seems to be a figurehead in the modern culture, especially with the growing influence of medieval fantasy on literature, TV series, and cinema. Thus I propose a paper analysing the modern dragon, its characteristics and functions, but with a particular focus on the possible influence on the medieval dragon on its descendant. By analysing the major dragons in the 20th and 21st centuries, from J.R.R. Tolkien to George R.R Martin, and by comparing both medieval and modern dragons, this paper will try to figure out why the dragon enjoys such a renewal today.
As other historical avant-garde movements had done, Surrealism too turned to the medieval as a source of artistic inspiration and renewal. This paper will sketch the ‘Middle Ages’ as constructed in French Surrealism, from 1920 to 1950. Pre-Renaissance art and cultural practices assumed to be medieval (collectivity, anonymity) were initially appropriated as ‘primitive’: pre-modern and authentic. As I will argue, over time and partly in response to outsider appropriations of medieval art as surreal(istic), surrealist medievalism became much more politically informed. The ‘Middle Ages’ were re-appropriated, now as distinctly and subversively anti-modern.