Showing posts with label medieval romance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label medieval romance. Show all posts

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

OUT NOW: Sexual Culture in the Literature of Medieval Britain (D.S. Brewer, 2014)

Edited by Amanda Hopkins, Robert Allen Rouse and Cory James Rushton



It is often said that the past is a foreign country where they do things differently, and perhaps no type of "doing" is more fascinating than sexual desires and behaviours. Our modern view of medieval sexuality is characterised by a polarising dichotomy between the swooning love-struck knights and ladies of romance on one hand, and the darkly imagined and misogyny of an unenlightened "medieval" sexuality on the other. British medieval sexual culture also exhibits such dualities through the influential paradigms of sinner or saint, virgin or whore, and protector or defiler of women. However, such sexual identities are rarely coherent or stable, and it is in the grey areas, the interstices between normative modes of sexuality, that we find the most compelling instances of erotic frisson and sexual expression.

This collection of essays brings together a wide-ranging discussion of the sexual possibilities and fantasies of medieval Britain as they manifest themselves in the literature of the period. Taking as their matter texts and authors as diverse as Chaucer, Gower, Dunbar, Malory, alchemical treatises, and romances, the contributions reveal a surprising variety of attitudes, strategies and sexual subject positions.

About the Editors:

Amanda Hopkins teaches in English and French at the University of Warwick; Robert Allen Rouse is Associate Professor of English at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Cory James Rushton is Associate Professor of English at St Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Contents:

Introduction: A Light Thrown upon Darkness: Writing about Medieval British Sexuality
Robert Allen Rouse and Cory James Rushton

1. ‘Open manslaughter and bold bawdry’: Male Sexuality as a Cause of Disruption in Malory’s Morte Darthur
Kristina Hildebrand

2. Erotic (Subject) Positions in Chaucer’s Merchant’s Tale
Amy S. Kaufman

3. Enter the Bedroom: Managing Space for the Erotic in Middle English Romance
Megan G. Leitch

4. ‘Naked as a nedyll’: The Eroticism of Malory’s Elaine
Yvette Kisor

5. ‘How love and I togedre met’: Gower, Amans and the Lessons of Venus in the Confessio Amantis
Samantha J. Rayner

6. ‘Bogeysliche as a boye’: Performing Sexuality in William of Palerne
Hannah Priest

7. Fairy Lovers: Sexuality, Order and Narrative in Medieval Romance
Aisling Byrne

8. Text as Stone: Desire, Sex, and the Figurative Hermaphrodite in the Ordinal and Compound of Alchemy
Cynthea Masson

9. Animality, Sexuality and the Abject in Three of Dunbar’s Satirical Poems
Anna Caughey

10. The Awful Passion of Pandarus
Cory James Rushton

11. Invisible Woman: Rape as a Chivalric Necessity in Medieval Romance
Amy N. Vines

For more information, please visit the publisher's website.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

CFP: Gender and Medieval Studies Conference 2015

Gender, Dirt and Taboo

7-9 January 2015
Bangor University

‘to embrace a woman is to embrace a sack of manure’
Odo of Cluny

The Middle Ages are synonymous with dirt – bodily, spiritual, linguistic and literary. People lived in closer proximity to the material reality of filth: privies, animal waste, the midden, and while walking city streets. Keeping one’s body and clothes uncontaminated by filth would have represented a challenge. The Church took great pains to warn about the polluting effect of sin, and the literal and metaphorical stains that it could leave upon body and soul. The Middle Ages remains (in)famous, to some, due to the perception that its comedy is simply ‘latrine humour.’ Women, with their leaky and pollutant bodies, lie at the heart of the medieval materiality of filth. Throughout her life course, a woman engaged with dirt; in bearing children, caring for the sick, working within the household and outside of the home, listening to sermons in church and to literature in a variety of contexts. In the misogynist discourse of Churchmen such as Odo of Cluny, woman was little more than dirt herself. Odo of Cluny did not acknowledge that manure is, of course, essential to healthy new growth.

We welcome abstracts from postgraduates and colleagues on all aspects of gender, dirt and taboo and from a broad range of disciplines, including history, archaeology, book history, literature, art history, music, theology and medicine.

Papers are particularly welcome on, but are not limited to:

The language of dirt
Dirt in texts/‘dirty’ texts
Landscapes of dirt
Bodily dirt
Dramatising dirt
Dirt and spirituality
Dirt and sexuality
Controlling/cleansing dirt
The comedy of dirt
The science of dirt

Please send abstracts of 200-300 words, for papers lasting 20 minutes, no later than 30 September 2014 to Dr Sue Niebrzydowski (School of English, Bangor University) for consideration. Please also include your research area, institution and level of study in your abstract.

It is hoped that The Kate Westoby Fund will be able to offer a modest contribution (but not the full costs) towards as many student travel expenses as possible.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

OUT NOW: Wounds in the Middle Ages, ed. Anne Kirkham and Cordelia Warr (Ashgate, 2014)


Wounds were a potent signifier reaching across all aspects of life in Europe in the middle ages, and their representation, perception and treatment is the focus of this volume. Following a survey of the history of medical wound treatment in the middle ages, paired chapters explore key themes situating wounds within the context of religious belief, writing on medicine, status and identity, and surgical practice. The final chapter reviews the history of medieval wounding through the modern imagination.

Adopting an innovative approach to the subject, this book will appeal to all those interested in how past societies regarded health, disease and healing and will improve knowledge of not only the practice of medicine in the past, but also of the ethical, religious and cultural dimensions structuring that practice.

Contents:

Part I: Medical Overview

1. The Management of Military Wounds in the Middle Ages
Jon Clasper

Part II: Miraculous Wounds and Miraculous Healing

2. Changing Stigmata
Cordelia Warr

3. Miracle and Medicine: Conceptions of Medical Knowledge and Practice in Thirteenth-Century Miracle Accounts
Louise Elizabeth Wilson

Part III: The Broken Body and the Broken Soul

4. The Solution of Continuous Things: Wounds in Late Medieval Medicine and Surgery
Karine van 't Land

5. Medicine for the Wounded Soul
M.K.K. Yearl

Part IV: Wounds as Signifiers for Romance Man and Civil Man

6. Christ's Wounds and the Birth of Romance
Hannah Priest

7. Wounding in the High Middle Ages: Law and Practice
Jenny Benham

Part V: Wound Surgery in the Fourteenth Century

8. Medicines for Surgical Practice in Fourteenth-Century England: The Judgement Against John le Spicer
Ian Naylor

9. The Medical Crossbow from Jan Yperman to Isaak Koedijck
Maria Patijn

Part VI: The Modern Imagination

10. The Bright Side of the Knife: Dismemberment in Medieval Europe and the Modern Imagination
Lila Yawn

About the Editor: Dr Anne Kirkham is a research associate at the University of Manchester. She obtained her PhD in 2007 and has published an article on St Francis of Assisi in Revival and Resurgence in Christian History (Studies in Church History, vol. 44, 2008). Since 2008, she has taught in the department of Art History and Visual Studies and researched, with Cordelia Warr, medieval wounds and has also co-supervised medical students researching dissertations in the history of medieval medicine.

Dr Cordelia Warr is senior lecturer in Art History and Visual Studies at the University of Manchester. She has published on Dressing for Heaven (2010), has co-edited two books on art in Naples with Janis Elliot (The Church of Santa Maria Donna Regina, 2004, and Art and Architecture in Naples, 1266-1714, 2010), and is currently working on the representation of stigmata between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries.

For more information about the book, please visit the publishers' website.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

CFP: 'To Die Would be an Awfully Big Adventure': The Glory and the Gore of Death and Horror Through the Ages

Bangor University, UK
Friday 6 June 2014

Abstracts are now being invited for the 10th annual Medievalism Transformed conference at Bangor University, a one-day interdisciplinary event sponsored by the School of English Literature. We will be convening to explore the medieval world and its sustained impact on subsequent culture and thought.

Papers are welcome from all disciplines related to medieval studies as well as modern expressions of medievalism. All topics within the general scope of the conference will be considered, including:

• Preparing for death
• Dying well
• Limbo / Purgatory
• Underworld
• Disease / Black Death / Medicine
• Ghosts
• The Occult / Cults
• The grotesque
• Apocalypse
• Saints / Martyrdom
• Theme of horror in medieval literature

Your proposal for a 20-minute paper should be no longer than 300 words. Please make submissions electronically to the conference convenors by 18 April. Proposals should be accompanied by your name, institutional affiliation, email address, and contact information. Please also specify any audio / visual requirements.

Letters of acceptance will be sent via email unless a hard copy is requested.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

CFP: The Geographic Imagination: Conceptualizing Places and Spaces in the Middle Ages

2nd Annual Indiana Medieval Graduate Student Consortium Conference

Call for Papers

Keynote Speaker: Professor Geraldine Heng
Perceval Fellow and Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature, with a joint appointment in Middle Eastern studies and Women’s studies at the University of Texas at Austin

The students of the Indiana Medieval Graduate Student Consortium (IMGC) are pleased to announce that we are accepting submissions for the second annual IMGC conference, 'The Geographic Imagination: Conceptualizing Places and Spaces in the Middle Ages', to take place on 28 Feb-1 Mar 2014 at the University of Notre Dame.

The transnational turn in the humanities over the last two decades has put increasing pressure on our ideas of nationhood and has provided us with a liberating awareness of the constructedness of the spaces we study. New methodologies have developed in response to this pressure as scholars turn to comparative approaches, borderland studies, histoire croisée, studies of empire, and oceanic models in order to accommodate the ambiguities of nationhood and of conceptions of space. Suggested by seminal transnational studies, such as Paul Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic, many critics now study “the flows of people, capital, profits and information.” Recently, David Wallace’s ambitious literary history of Europe has adopted a similarly fluid approach to culture, avoiding a study of “national blocks” of literature, organizing itself instead along transnational itineraries that stretch beyond the European sphere. The Middle Ages offer a particularly broad and rich era in which to encounter fluid notions of space, as any glance at a medieval map such as the famous Hereford mappa mundi invitingly suggests. We invite presentations from all fields to explore any aspect of the medieval “geographic imagination,” of conceptions of space, place, and nation: ideas of geography, cartography, transnational identities and networks, intercultural encounters, mercantile routes, travelogues, rural and urban spaces, religious places, and concepts of locality and local identities.

The IMGC is delighted to announce that our keynote speaker this year will be Dr Geraldine Heng, well known to many of us for her exhaustive and provocative study of medieval romance, Empire of Magic, and her subsequent work on race in the Middle Ages.

Please submit a 300 word abstract for a 15-20 minute paper by 15 Dec, 2013 on the conference website. Proposals should include the title of the paper, presenter's name, institutional and departmental affiliation, and any technology requests.

This conference is generously sponsored by the Nanovic Institute for European Studies. The Nanovic Institute is committed to enriching the intellectual culture of Notre Dame by creating an integrated, interdisciplinary home for students and faculty to explore the evolving ideas, cultures, beliefs, and institutions that shape Europe today.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

CFP: Sessions at Kalamazoo 2014

The 49th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University, May 8-11, 2014

Please note: these CFPs are for different sessions at Congress. If you are intending to submit to an abstract, please pay attention to the contact details for that session and direct your emails to the correct person.

CFP: New Readings on Women in Old English Literature Revisited (A Roundtable)

It has been over twenty years since the publication of New Readings on Women in Old English Literature, edited by Helen Damico and Alexandra Hennessey Olsen (Indiana University Press 1990). That text was a landmark, the first to collect scholarship examining Old English texts, both canonical and those less frequently considered, from a feminist perspective. Many of the essays included are still valuable, but it is time for an updating of this important text. Much valuable work has been accomplished in the years since its publication, and more remains to be done. This session is a roundtable in which participants will discuss the state of scholarship that considers Anglo-Saxon texts from a feminist perspective, whatever that might mean today, and what direction an updating of the original volume might take. Helen Damico has agreed to serve as a respondent. This special session is a preliminary part of a project that looks towards producing a new volume of essays updating the original.

Please contact Yvette Kisor by September 15, 2013. Along with your proposal, please include a completed Participant Information Form, which is available on the ICMS website.

CFP: Give and Take: Exchange in Early Medieval English, Norse, and Celtic Literature

Gift-theory and theories of exchange continue to grant interesting insights into medieval literature, and medievalists have important perspectives to contribute to the body of theoretical scholarship on exchange. This session seeks papers exploring concepts of exchange in early medieval Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic literatures and is especially interested in papers that apply gift-theory beyond the simple exchange of gift-items. This means, for instance, considering exchange more broadly (exchanged violence, exchange between generations, exchange between the spiritual and temporal realms, symbolic exchange, etc.), or thinking through conceptual problems within gift-theory addressed by medieval sources: for example, how is meaning negotiated and guaranteed through exchange? Where are the lines are between gift, loan, and purchase? How does the gift reveal or hide intention? How is the extent of selflessness or self-interest determined or judged? How does the gift function as a test or revelation of character? What is the relationship between a thing given and its meaning?

250-300-word abstracts should be sent to Stephanie Clark by September 15. Along with your proposal, please include a completed Participant Information Form, which is available on the ICMS website. Unless requested otherwise, proposals not used in this session will be forwarded on to the Congress committee for consideration for general sessions.

CFP: Single-Manuscript Texts: the Challenges and Opportunities of Uniqueness

For many theories of textual criticism, single-manuscript texts are a problem and anomaly, yet many of the most important works of medieval literature are known from single manuscripts. Within English literature alone, Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, many of the lyrics in Harley 2253, and scores of other texts are unique. Moreover, medieval readers had to cope with lone texts at least as often as do modern scholars. The behavior of scribes, annotators, and translators working from damaged or otherwise problematic exemplars makes clear that in the Middle Ages, people often encountered texts that they could never expect to compare with others. The experience of uniqueness, then, was in fact a normal aspect of medieval book culture. But once we have stopped seeing single-manuscript texts as anomalies, how shall we proceed? Does uniqueness demand its own editorial practice? How should we read books that have no parallels?

With such questions in mind, we hope to bring together scholars working on a range of national languages and time periods to discuss the principles and methods guiding our study of single-manuscript texts, with the goal of understanding how unique manuscripts can be understood within medieval book culture and modern critical practice.

Abstracts and Participant Information Forms should be sent to Arthur W. Bahr.

Queries may also be directed to Emily Thornbury.

CFP: Strange Letters: Alphabets in Medieval Manuscripts

The letter, as most medieval grammatical texts will tell you, is the fundamental unit of language; if you want to know a language, you must know its letters. Throughout much of the western middle ages, knowledge of languages was primarily restricted to Latin and various European vernaculars, all of which were written with the Roman alphabet. Nevertheless, medieval scholars were well aware of other alphabets, and even knew the rudimentary connections among say the Roman, Greek, and Hebrew alphabets. Despite the general inability to interact with these and other languages in a sustained way, medieval scribes exhibit a fascination with a variety of non-Roman alphabets: Greek, and Hebrew, of course, but also Runes, Coptic, Arabic, and invented alphabets like that attributed to Aethicus Ister.

This session looks to bring together scholars working on these alphabets and those with interest in the topic to share each others' insights. Potential topics include but are not limited to:
- Alphabet Collections
- Ciphers and Codes
- Alphabetic/acrostic poetry
- The use of foreign - and pseudo - scripts in medieval art
- The use of letters in charms and magic
- Foreign marginalia
- Manuscript runes

Please send any queries as well as abstracts of no more than 250 words together with a completed Participation Form to session organizer Damian Fleming by September 15, 2013. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract. Abstracts not accepted for this session will be forwarded to the Congress committee which will consider the paper for inclusion in a general session.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

CFP: Gender and Medieval Studies Conference 2014

9‐11 January
The University of Winchester

Gender and Status

Keynote speaker: Barbara Yorke, Professor Emerita of Early Medieval History, University of Winchester

In a social hierarchy, gender and status are closely interrelated. These beliefs create constraining bonds, which can limit but also encourage attempts to circumvent them. We can discern different methods of both manoeuvring within social status and also breaking free of it.

The extent to which gender determines and informs status has led to different medieval explanations of this system. The 2014 Gender and Medieval Studies Conference welcomes a range of multifaceted or interdisciplinary approaches to the topic of Gender and Status in the Middle Ages. The examination of both femininities and masculinities, individually or in conjunction to each other, with theoretical or interpretive approaches from literature, history, art history, archaeology, music history, philosophy, theology or any related discipline are especially desired. We would also like to offer early‐stage postgraduate students the opportunity to share their research in progress through poster presentations.

Areas that could be explored (but are not limited to) include:

- Economics
- Social status
- Mobility
- Employment
- Corpus Christi
- Spheres of influence
- Life cycles
- Access to power
- Authority
- The concept of ‘status’
- Servitude and slavery
- Marital status
- Sexuality
- Poverty

The GMS 2014 will include a round table on gender and pedagogy, and we are seeking academics with teaching experience from a wide range of disciplines to participate.

We invite proposals for 20‐minute papers or posters on any aspect of this topic. Please e‐mail proposals of approximately 250 words, including your contact details and affiliation (if applicable), to the conference convenors by 2 September 2013. For session proposals, please include all participants’ names, affiliations, paper titles and abstracts. If you would like to participate in the pedagogy round table, please express your interest to the committee at the same email address.

Friday, 29 March 2013

CFP: Romance in Medieval Britain

14th Biennial Conference
12-14th April 2014
Clifton Hill House, Bristol

Papers are invited on all aspects of medieval romance. The conference marks the conclusion of an AHRC-sponsored research project on the Verse Forms of Middle English Romance, and papers that address questions of verse form are particularly welcome.

To propose a paper, please send a brief abstract to one of the two conference organizers, before 31 September 2013:
Dr Judith Jefferson, English Department
Prof. Ad Putter, English Department

Further information about the conference will be made available on the website.

Monday, 4 June 2012

OUT NOW: Encyclopaedia of Medieval Dress and Textiles of the British Isles, c. 450-1450



The eagerly-awaited Encyclopaedia of Medieval Dress and Textiles of the British Isles, c. 450-1450, edited by Gale Owen-Crocker, Elizabeth Coatsworth and Maria Hayward and published by Brill, is now available to buy. I'm proud to say I have an entry on 'Cross-Dressing' (co-written with Gale Owen-Crocker) in the encyclopedia, which is one of over 500 entries.

From the publisher's website:

The single volume Encyclopaedia of Medieval Dress and Textiles of the British Isles c. 450-1450 is a unique work that intends to bring together in 582 signed articles the latest research from across the range of disciplines which contribute to our knowledge of medieval dress and textiles.

There has been a long-standing interest in the subject, which has recently manifested itself in a flowering of research and publications, including activities by the editors of the Encyclopaedia: the foundation of DISTAFF (Discussion, Interpretation and Study of Textile Arts, Fabrics and Fashion) as an umbrella organization for the presentation of papers at the major medieval congresses in Kalamazoo and Leeds (Netherton and Owen-Crocker); the establishment of the annual journal Medieval Clothing and Textiles (Netherton and Owen-Crocker); the Manchester Medieval Textiles Project (Coatsworth and Owen-Crocker); and the AHRC Lexis of Cloth and Clothing Project (Owen-Crocker and Sylvester).

There is a clear need for an interdisciplinary reference work which will introduce readers to various sources of evidence, and give clear information about the most recent discoveries and interpretations and bibliographical guidance to readers. The Encyclopaedia of Medieval Dress and Textiles of the British Isles c. 450-1450 contains also over 100 plates and diagrams to illustrate the text.


For more information, please click here. A free sample fascicle is available from the publisher's website.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Shaping Narratives

CALL FOR PAPERS

17th Annual Postgraduate Medieval Studies Conference
25-26th February, 2011
Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Bristol, UK

Master Class with Professor Karen Pratt, King's College London
'How useful is the concept of genre for the study of medieval romance?
The strange case of Gautier d'Arras's Eracle'

The University of Bristol hosts the longest-running international medieval postgraduate conference in the UK. Each year we offer medievalists the opportunity to present their research, discuss ideas, and foster links bridging disciplinary and geographical boundaries. In 2011 the conference will be in its 17th year, and we are inviting proposals for papers from postgraduates and early career scholars on the theme of 'Shaping Narratives'.

Our conception of the Middle Ages is shaped by the narratives we uncover in the rich range of medieval cultural artefacts that survive (or have failed to survive) to the present day. Narratives - both medieval and modern - can be shaped by religious, political or didactic ideas, by questions of identity, or by constructions of authorship and creation. This interdisciplinary conference will consider the use of narrative in the formation and interpretation of the textual, visual, musical and material cultures of the Middle Ages.

Topics may include but are not limited to:
  • The notion of medieval authors/creators
  • Medieval readers and listeners: interpretation, orality and performance
  • Material and visual narratives
  • Critical interpretations of the past: narrative and genre theory in both contemporary and medieval scholarly discourse
  • Biography, life stories and exempla
  • Narrative through music and lyric
  • Hiding and suppressing political and religious narratives
  • Narratives in manuscript culture: discerning textual communities from miscellanies and compilations

Papers must be no more than 20 minutes long.

Abstracts of 250-300 words should be sent by email (by preference) to Johnny McFadyen.

Johnny McFadyen, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Bristol, Graduate School of Arts and Humanities, 7 Woodland Road, Bristol BS8 1TB, UK.

Deadline for receipt of abstracts: 10th December, 2011
Registration deadline: 21st January, 2011

For further information please visit our website.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Werewolf Literature and Native Wolves

A question was asked in one of the sessions at the She-Wolf conference that has got me thinking. In our panel on contemporary fantasy fiction, one delegate asked why so much of the current crop of werewolf fantasy is coming out of the US and Australia. Another delegate suggested that it was related to the fact that wolves (and other wild dogs) are native to these countries. This sparked some debate, as traditionally werewolf literature has been more common in countries where wolves are not native.

My own work is on European literature of the 12th-14th centuries, but also on 21st-century fiction, so I thought I'd give the question some thought. Feel free to comment!

Medieval werewolf literature (and by this I mean entertainment literature, rather than church texts) was generally produced in areas in which there were (are) no wolves. I remember once giving a paper on Marie de France's Bisclavret at a conference and being asked whether this text was influenced by the fact that folkloric belief and a 'fear of wolves'. It's hard to imagine the 12th-century aristocratic Marie, who was possibly residing at the Plantagenet court in England when she composed her poem, actually being frightened of wolves! Chances are she'd never so much as seen one.

However, medieval romance is a genre characterized by nostalgia. If we look, for example, at the 14th-century William of Palerne, the relationship between this generic nostalgia and the werewolf becomes apparent. Having been helped by the friendly werewolf to escape a forced marriage, William and Melior flee to the forest. Once there, they intend to live a rural and simple existence - Melior suggests that they survive by eating berries that they find. The werewolf and the forest form part of a rural idyll for which the lovers long.

Yet, as critics such as Corinne Saunders and Gillian Rudd have shown, the forest of 14th-century England (the country in which William of Palerne was produced) did not spread as far as has been previously believed. The forest had already been cut back, removed and urbanized in many areas. As is clear from romance texts, a fond folk-memory of the days when the entire country was covered by forest remained in the later Middle Ages - might we not also assume that this folk-memory also involved wolves? Though there were still some wolves left in Britain at the time when William of Palerne was produced, they were being hunted by the 'civilized' court. Thus a memory of wolves may also have been a 'memory' of a time when human beings lived in 'harmony' with nature, the forest and the wolves. Whether or not this 'harmony' ever actually existed is another question.

In medieval romance what we find is a nostalgic view of the 'olden days' - once upon a time, all this was forest and wolves/werewolves roamed free. And those of you familiar with Marie de France's Bisclavret will recognize that this is a fairly close approximation of the opening lines of the poem.

Jump forward to the 21st century...

Contemporary fantasy fiction also concerns itself with a certain type of nostalgia. However, the generic concerns are, in many respects, distinctly different to those of medieval romance. While a discomfort with urbanization and the destruction of 'nature' is apparent in both genres, this manifests itself in quite different ways.

Ecological concerns and the issue of how human beings impact on the natural world are common themes in contemporary urban fantasy. In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, the problem of hunting is raised, as the werewolf Sam is shot by Tom Culpeper - who believes he is simply hunting wolves. Werewolves are thus moved from the the 'once upon a time' world of the romantic forest, and into an arena in which the natural world comes into (often violent) confrontation with the urban.

One of the defining characteristics of contemporary urban fantasy is that it is set in the 'here and now'. It distinguishes itself from other types of fantasy fiction through its thoroughly 'realistic' setting in the modern world. Thus, it is harder to imagine a world in which werewolves might wander freely without running into problems of verisimilitude and believeability. It makes sense, therefore, that such fantasy takes place in a world in which there are already wolves - making it only a small imaginative leap to the existence of werewolves.

Both medieval romance and contemporary urban fantasy imagines a space in which werewolves could conceivably exist. Romance utilizes its generic tropes of nostalgia to conjure up a vast forest in which supernatural beings walk; urban fantasy depicts the 'realistic' world of the US/Australia, where people really do live alongside wolves or other wild dogs, before adding that some wolves may not be what they seem. By comparing the generic concerns and characteristics, it is clear that the former would be more common in areas where there are no wolves, whereas the latter (by necessity) is likely to be produced in areas where human beings live alongside native wild dogs.

That's my take on the problem. I'd love to hear other people's thoughts.