Kazuo Ishiguro’s 2015 novel The Buried Giant uses its fantastical post-Arthurian landscape as a setting to explore the role that memory plays in atrocity and healing, both personally and socially at the levels of nation and race. Ishiguro’s nebulous medieval landscape belies the book’s serious debt to medieval texts, in terms not simply of material, but of central thematic issues like the relationship between generational violence and racial animus. This paper argues that Ishiguro’s book is indebted in this respect to two medieval authors, Geoffrey of Monmouth and the Venerable Bede, who have hitherto been neglected in studies of the novel.
The Black Death functions as a border between our historical consciousness of the Middle Ages, our understanding of the present and our fears for the future. It became part of colonial narratives, a trial from which Europe supposedly emerged stronger and ready to dominate the world. Warner’s 1948 account of fictional nuns and their experience of the Black Death represents a significant shift away from these narratives. This shift will be explored through examination of Warner’s choice of the Black Death as subject matter, its connection with her work in the Second World War and its grounding in research on medieval history.
C. S. Lewis and T. H. White use medievalism, magic, and mystery to blur boundaries between humanity and animality. Lewis’s That Hideous Strength (1945) and White’s The Once and Future King (1938-1977) contain corresponding elements demonstrating both author’s understanding and approach to medieval identity. This paper intends to explore the animal-human aspects of both novels; White’s use of animals as educators whilst Lewis creates an Eden-esque conclusion. The medievalism of these authors is reflected in the presentation of animals’ place in relation to man, how character and narrative is influenced by this and the importance of concluding with animals.