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  • Writer's pictureLogan Quigley

Þe Rade Longe 1990s: Nostalgia and Pop Medievalisms of the 90s and Y2K (Bievenue, Fulmer, & Sulla)

Updated: Feb 24




Underexplored media in the discourse of pop medievalisms are those which emerged in the era of Kurt Cobain and Furbies, of Pokémon and Polly Pocket — the 1990s and early 2000s.


We first discuss the medieval inklings of the Disney Renaissance in The Beauty and the Beast (1991) and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996). Moving into the 21st century, we also examine Shrek (2001), which famously uses a pseudo-medieval fairy-tale setting to satirize contemporary society and popular culture — only to launch a pop culture franchise of its very own.


We consider the nostalgic medievalisms at the turn of the century as a reaction to the rapidly escalating technological advancements of the Internet Age. The medievalist pop culture in this era is often connected by kitsch, cheekiness, and intentional anachronisms, and warmly embodies repudiation of the Y2K panic while embracing youth culture.


Alice Fulmer (she/her) is an MA/PhD student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and poet. She is pursuing a Medieval Studies emphasis and drafting a prospectus on digital culture and late medieval British manuscript culture. Her debut collection, Faunalia, on Gods and Radicals/Ritona Press, is available now.


Olivia Bievenue (she/they) is a second-year doctoral student in the Department of English at UCSB. She studies early modern English drama, performance, and disability. Olivia recently co-founded a theater company with the hope that it would be a vessel for graduate and undergraduate students to explore social, cultural, and literary themes through performance and community engagement. She is currently directing a production of The Tempest.


Erin A. Sulla (she/her) is the Arts & Humanities Librarian at Occidental College. She holds a BA in History and an MS in Library and Information Sciences. Her research interests include critical librarianship, queerness in popular media, and medieval perceptions of embodied difference

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