Ewan Wilson

Published: 25 September 2015

A New Archaic Avant-Garde?: Tradition & Experimentation in the Neo-Mediaeval Cinema of Terry Gilliam, Derek Jarman, & John Boorman

University of Dundee

A New Archaic Avant-Garde?: Tradition & Experimentation in the Neo-Mediaeval Cinema of Terry Gilliam, Derek Jarman, & John Boorman

Academic History:

2015 - PhD candidate, English & Film Studies, University of Dundee

2014 - 2015 MLitt in Film Studies, Distinction, University of Dundee

2010 - 2014 MA English & Film Studies, First Class Honours, University of Dundee


Dr Brian Hoyle

Dr Jodi-Anne George

Research Interests:

  • Mediaeval Film
  • Arthurian myth
  • British & European Cinema
  • Animation
  • Avant-Garde Film
  • Gothic Literature
  • Comics Studies
  • Adaptation theory

The aim of my thesis is to examine the influence of medieval literature & the art & culture of the Middle Ages on the films of three British directors: Terry Gilliam, Derek Jarman, & John Boorman. It will ask the following related questions:

1) What is the relationship between a modern art form such as cinema & the oldest examples of English literature?
2) How do these films relate to earlier trends in neo-mediaevalism as seen in art & literature?
3) How do innovative filmmakers such as Gilliam, Jarman & Boorman reconcile the interface between the pre-modern & their cinematic modernism?

The thesis will result in a more complex & sophisticated understanding of what has been termed “mediaeval film”, & addresses the problem of where these three filmmakers belong in this category, & the wider tradition of neo-mediaevalism. In doing so it will offer a new reading of these films, the concerns & influences of these filmmakers, & will challenge preconceptions about mediaeval film & neo-mediaevalism.

Previous Research Interests:

MLitt Dissertation: ‘“Between Mastery & Madness”: Collecting Culture & the Cabinet of Curiosities in the Films of the Brothers Quay, Bill Morrison, & Terry Gilliam’

MA Dissertation: ‘“Diagrams of Motion”: Stop-Motion as a Form of Kinetic Sculpture in the Short-Films of Jan Švankmajer & the Brothers Quay’


2015 – present: AHRC DTP studentship.

2014-2015: Carnegie-Cameron Scholarship.

Conference papers:

‘Terry Gilliam’s The Fisher King: The Film as Self-Portrait’, presented at Art & Articulation: Illuminating the Mystical, Medieval & Modern, Oxford, 8th - 9th January 2016.

'Who Cancelled Don Quixote?: The Problem of Adapting Cervantes', presented at Association of Adaptation Studies Conference 2016: Adaptations & History, Oxford, 26th - 27th September 2016.


Awarded prizes for best overall performance in English & Film Studies for three consecutive years at undergraduate level, including the Sam Selvon Award & Brian Cox Film Studies Prize. 

Contact Details:

Email: e.q.wilson@dundee.ac.uk

First published: 25 September 2015