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Goodly Gear

An Annotated Bibliography of Resources for the Recreation of Medieval and Renaissance Clothing


Jennifer Louise Geard

Submitted to the School of Communications and Information Management,

Victoria University of Wellington,

in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of

Master of Library and Information Studies

February 1999



Acknowledgement and thanks are due to those who have helped with this project:

To Dan Dorner, my project supervisor, whose guidance made the project’s progress as smooth and enjoyable as could reasonably be hoped. It has been a pleasure working together, and I hope that some day we might meet.

To Shona Senior and Trevor Natzke, colleagues and interloans staff at Canterbury Public Library, for sustaining interest as well as cheerful efficiency in the face of each new barrage of interloan requests.

To John Redmayne, Technical Services Librarian at Canterbury University Library, whose assistance in increasing my access to Canterbury University Library’s books over the summer was a great help.

To the people from medieval recreation groups who have read and commented on drafts, and especially to Maggie Mulvaney for sorting Swedish from Danish and lending her copy of Margareta Nockert’s Bockstensmannen och hans Dräkt to fill a gap in the bibliographic coverage and spread southwards knowledge of the Bocksten garments.

To Peter and Vicki Hyde, who said I could print a final copy from their printer... and then insisted on proofing it. And to David, Richard, Stephen, Helen and Zane who helped them do it. Any typographical errors which remain must show lapses in my ability to transfer their notes back to the main file.

To Stephen Rennell, my husband, who has now seen me through three post-graduate qualifications and has respectfully requested that I wait a while before embarking on another, for everything from sympathetic understanding to shouldering most of the cooking. With love and appreciation.

Jennifer Geard

Feast of St Valentine, 1999

Table of Contents

Introduction v

Topic v


Acknowledgements ii

Table of Contents iii

Abstract iv

Topic v

The need for bibliographical coverage v

The audience: Medieval Recreators v

Previous bibliographical coverage vii

content and format: Alternative responses vii

Scope viii

Review of sources ix

Methodology: Search Strategies x

Presentation and Arrangement xi

Tips and Terms xii

Summary xiii

Bibliography xiii

Appendix A: Responses from Recreators xiv

Appendix B: Types of Costume Books xv

Appendix C: Interloan Library Abbreviations xvii

REsources for the RECREATION of medieval and renaissance CLOTHING 1

Title Index 64

Date Index 72

Index 81


An annotated bibliography for people who recreate historical costume. Identifies the scope, focus and accuracy of sources of information on the construction and reconstruction of western European clothing and armour from the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Focuses particularly on resources available to the medieval recreation groups in New Zealand, and aims to be a practical tool for identifying useful sources of information for historically authentic costuming. Also examines the historical development of costume history and the various types of resources produced in the disciplines of archaeology, art history, social history, philology and theatrical costuming.




This is a bibliography for people who recreate historic costume, identifying appropriate and accurate sources of information on the construction and reconstruction of the clothing and armour of western Europe during the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

The need for bibliographical coverage

The audience: Medieval Recreators

Historical recreation is the hobby of reproducing the skills, artifacts and notable events or types of events of past times. “Medieval recreators” is a blanket description for people who research and attempt to replicate the skills and artifacts of medieval and Renaissance times. Their needs for costume resources are quite specifically focused on discovering what was worn in the period under study, how it was made, and how copies can be made for use in the present day.

The history of medieval costume, arms and armour is a young discipline, leaning heavily upon her elder sisters archaeology, art history and philology. As real objects from the period are extremely rare, a systematic approach of the subject is impossible without the supporting evidence of iconographic and written documents.1

Costume history is an interdisciplinary study: as well as archaeology, art history and philology it draws on social and economic history, museum curation, contemporary literature, theatrical costume design and general “costume books”. Yet although all these flavours of resources can be of use to medieval recreators, identifying the particular items most likely to help in a given project is no easy task. There is a dearth of tools giving intellectual access to costume resources, and no current and widely available tools which serve the specific needs of medieval recreators.

This is in part because the needs of medieval recreators differ from the needs of people who use knowledge of costume to date artworks, analyse past economies, or clothe theatrical productions. Recreators want to know more than what the outer layers looked like, or how to make medieval-looking costume using modern materials and techniques. Recreators want to know how the original clothing was made in order to make functional reproductions which they can wear to events. The general bibliographies of costume history fail to meet this need because their scopes are too wide, their annotations too general, and their listings too dated to identify the resources which will be useful in reproducing a costume.

The history of medieval recreation and re-enactment contains different and sometimes contradictory strands. Prime among these themes are “heroic nostalgia” and “living history”. Heroic nostalgia has the longer tradition, although to us it seems self-referential in that the desire to recreate the medieval past goes back at least as far as the tournaments which medieval English kings such as Richard I and Edward III held in honour of King Arthur, and the establishment of confraternities and orders of knighthood such as Edward III’s Order of the Garter to emulate the noble and chivalric deeds of Arthur’s court. The people we study were as much influenced by romance and fantasy fiction based on the works of Geoffrey of Monmouth as many modern recreators.

This impulse draws on literary sources, cultural stories which have acquired archetypal status, and “big history” focusing on the actions of high-ranking individuals, named and dated events, and social hierarchies. It is typical of historical recreation in English-speaking countries that it also fits into the geochronic timeline presented in this view of history, moving from the Roman Empire to “Dark Ages” Saxons and Vikings, to “medieval” England and France, away to what is now Italy for the Renaissance, and back to England for the Tudor period.

Yet modern medieval recreation has a much more down-to-earth strand, sometimes called living history or experimental archaeology, which is less about chivalric romance and more about understanding the daily lives of people who lived in previous centuries. It is this strand which sees people researching and practising crafts and skills to gain an appreciation of early technology and culture. The experiments in ship-building and navigation of Thor Heyerdahl and Tim Savarin fit this model, as do attempts by music scholars such as Christopher Page to recreate the performance of Beowulf using a reproduction of the Anglo-Saxon lyre found in the Sutton Hoo ship burial. The large-scale land-based equivalents of this are the size of villages with a full range of buildings and activities, such as the Butser Iron-Age farm at Bascombe Copse, Hampshire. Some allow people to visit by the day, others require bookings for two-week nothing-modern stints, and a few have been home to enthusiastic academics for much longer periods.

For most medievalists, however, this is an interest which fits into weekends and holidays. The main medievalist groups in New Zealand are the Society for Creative Anachronism (Christchurch, Auckland, Wellington, Palmerston North and Hamilton; scope: pre-seventeenth century Western civilisation), the NZ Sword and Shield Society (Wellington, Auckland, Wairoa and Whangarei; scope: 9th-15th century Britain and Europe), the International Jousting Association (NZ) (Upper Hutt and Auckland; scope: c.1325-1375), the Wellington Mediaeval Guild and the Nelson Mediaeval Guild (AD750-1550), the Otago Medieval Society Inc. (England “around the time of the Norman Conquest”), the Phoenix Company (Palmerston North, 1100-1400), the Red Ravens (Palmerston North and Dannevirke), and the Knights Draconis (Auckland, 1100-1400). The most common types of medievalist events in New Zealand are feasts, tourneys and encampments. A bibliography of medieval clothing would make it easier for people to produce and wear appropriate and accurate clothing to these events.

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