Medievalism, in the words of the principal scholarly society devoted to it, is ‘the study of responses to the Middle Ages at all periods since a sense of the medieval began to develop’. Such responses may range from the robustly academic and rigorous to the overtly political or nationalistic to the whimsical, frivolous and downright silly; what is significant is the way in which the idea of the Middle Ages functions as a consensually-understood tool of reference and legitimation and as a part of the modern cultural imaginary. Ideas of the medieval Other are a long-standing and arguably a formative constituent of post-medieval culture, although subject to constant appropriation, revision and re-imagining for a multitude of different purposes.
Given the huge popularity of games, music, books, films and television programmes inspired by the Middle Ages, medievalism has also proved a superbly effective means of communicating scholarship to an interested public outside the academy. The Interdisciplinary Seminar on Medievalism meets regularly to consider imaginings, re-imaginings and evocation of the Middle Ages in all reaches of post-medieval culture.