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The style of the medieval period, which flows through the bloodstream of western culture, was vigorously re-established in post-Enlightenment England. This one-volume history of the Medieval Revival is the first coherent account of it, especially those aspects that are expressed and reflected in literature. The book focuses on the period 1760 to 1971, with an Epilogue on the reverberations of medievalism in the present day.
The rebuilding of the Palace of Westminster, after its destruction by fire in 1834, re-established Gothic as the national style. But medieval imitation manifests itself wherever one cares to look: in literature, architecture, the applied arts, religion, politics, and even Hollywood. In this skilled dissection of the components of this pervasive cultural movement, Michael Alexander rejects the idea that medievalism was confined to the Victorian period, and overturns the suspicion that it is by its nature escapist.