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Old July 26th, 2009, 03:29 AM   #1

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Inventing the Middle Ages


I would like readers here to be aware of the book: Inventing the Middle Ages: The Lives, Works, and Ideas of the Great Medievalists of the Twentieth Century--by Norman F. Cantor. the book is review by Danny Yee 1997 http://dannyreviews.com/. Among other things Yee notes, he writes:

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Cantor goes into the biographical details of his subjects' lives only where he sees them as important to an understanding of their historical work, or where they have their own attractions. He writes far more about Knowles' private life, with its elements of mystery and scandal, than about Gilson's, for example. Personal information about them is interwoven with summaries of their historical work. So we have accounts of Norman state building, the career of Emperor Frederick II, the origins of English common law, and a variety of other topics. The spotlight is on the unique perspective each of the medievalists brought to bear on the discipline.

They are also placed in broader historiographical currents, with the inclusion of brief accounts of other figures of note in medieval studies as well as descriptions of whole academic traditions. Alongside Bloch and Halphen, Cantor provides brief accounts of Durkheim, Pirenne, Lot, Berr, and Febvre, as well musings on Braudel, the Annalist school, and the structure of French academia. The chapter on Haskins and Strayer explores the legacy of Woodrow Wilson in the history of the United States; the chapter on Panofsky and Curtius contains an account of the rise of formalism and iconology; and the chapter on Knowles and Gilson contains a mini-history of the Catholic church's response to secular scholarship in the twentieth century.

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I leave the rest of this excellent review to readers here.-Ron Price, Tasmania

Last edited by RonPrice; July 26th, 2009 at 03:30 AM. Reason: to add words
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Old July 26th, 2009, 09:22 PM   #2

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Re: Inventing the Middle Ages


I enjoy reading Cantor...I have his book "The Last Knight" following the life of John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster. I also have his "Middle Ages" book.
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Old July 26th, 2009, 11:50 PM   #3

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Re: Inventing the Middle Ages


Thanks for the reply, Comet....Ron Price, Tasmania
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Old August 11th, 2009, 10:38 AM   #4
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Re: Inventing the Middle Ages


That was a great book..not an easy read, but worth the effort. I especially enjoyed the section on Tolkien and his take on Frodo being a metaphor for the wounded and "shell-shocked" Soldier from the Great War.
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Old August 11th, 2009, 02:11 PM   #5

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Re: Inventing the Middle Ages


That's often the way, Thyra, with difficult books. I could give you so many, many examples from my 59 years of serious reading.-Ron
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Old August 11th, 2009, 06:28 PM   #6
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Re: Inventing the Middle Ages


I'm sure you could,Ron. I can't remember how many times I have re-read a book and taken notes and then gone onto investigating more on the subject..just trying to understand. But it keeps me out of trouble and I ene up learning something new, which is the most important thing in life.
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