This past fall I participated in a graduate seminar entitled "Mapping Medievalism at the Canadian Frontier" led by Professor Kathryn Brush. As a participant in this seminar, I explored how medieval visual culture shaped conceptions and representations of Canada's wilderness from c.1820 onward. This exploration culminated in a scholarly publication and multi-venue exhibition and symposium in the fall of 2010. Attached below is the link to a glowing review of this scholarly undertaking by Richard Utz of Western Michigan University:
Brush, ed., Mapping Medievalism at the Canadian Frontier
"According to Simon Bentley, medieval and colonial modes created a fruitful combination for the construction of leadership in Upper Canada. Colonel Thomas Talbot (1771-1853), for example, displayed a particular predilection for pre-modern (feudal) leadership and a pioneer lifestyle. Talbot’s specific masculinist medievalism becomes visible in his own understanding of manly aventure, i.e., the conquest of foreign lands and the creation of vast estates. Ahlia Moussa provides a feminine counter perspective to Colonel Talbot’s, British author, activist, art historian and literary scholar Anna Jameson’s (1794-1860) travel narratives, which are also imbued with nineteenth-century medievalist sentiment. She, however, viewed the medieval chivalric traditions as the beginning of the modification and enlargement of the woman’s sphere and used her own anthropological observations on Native women and frontier women to critique the artificiality of Victorian ideals of women. In her descriptions, Euro-Canadian female settlers, who had to perform physical labor, appear as “moderately liberated, but genteel and feminine” (p. 64). If Jameson’s medievalizing travel narratives launched her literary career, the colonial fantasy of reviving an idealized medieval age had a similarly positive effect on the career of landscape painter Frederick Arthur Verner (1836-1928). As Erin Rothstein elucidates, Verner’s depictions of a Canadian medieval wilderness expose the nostalgic and conservative side of the nineteenth-century return to medievalia."