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Medievalist Comics and the American Century$
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Chris Bishop

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781496808509

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2018

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496808509.001.0001

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Prince Valiant (1937)

Prince Valiant (1937)

(p.27) Chapter 1 Prince Valiant (1937)
Medievalist Comics and the American Century

Chris Bishop

University Press of Mississippi

As a body of work, Foster’s Prince Valiant celebrates the paradoxical. Essentially modernist in its oeuvre, the strip is set in the ‘days of King Arthur.’ Ostensibly American in its outlook, the setting is mostly European. Undeniably democratic in its politics, the principal character is, after all, a prince. That the strip should prove so successful for so long attests to the power of its wistful and melancholic nostalgia. It is this nostalgia that has fuelled an American obsession with medievalism and a continuing engagement with the promise of Camelot, a promise that interpreted the poetry of Tennyson through the art of Howard Pyle, refashioned that interpretation into comics and movies and musicals, and finally divested itself into the brief tenure of an assassinated president.

Keywords:   Hal Foster, WR Hearst, J. F. Kennedy, King Arthur, Arthuriana

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