Synopses & Reviews
In this ground-breaking book, the great French historian Jacques Le Goff tells the story of the key events and ideas that shaped the Middle Ages. His overview ranges widely, from the Fall of Rome to the Discovery of the Americas, and from Ireland to the Black Sea.
In clear, concise language, the author presents his personal view of the importance of the Middle Ages and its lasting legacy to Europe. He contends that it was in the Middle Ages that many of the institutions and beliefs we consider to be “European” were defined and developed for the first time: ideas about a common Christian society, public spaces, courtship, and marriage.
The Birth of Europe presents the historical facts and events that shaped the period, but also the formation of attitudes and concepts of a European “dream”. The Middle Ages manifested the combination of diversity and unity present in Europe today: the mixing of populations, West-East and North-South oppositions, but above all the unifying role of culture.
The book is an ideal introduction to the medieval world for students, as well as anyone interested in how “Europe” was born.
"This is a fascinating and timely study of the medieval origins of today’s Europe. It is extraordinary how many of the themes and ideas in this book reverberate through the arguments of the 21st century." Rt Hon Christopher Patten, CH, Former Member of the European Commission
"The Middle Ages was a fulcrum epoch that compared with the Renaissance and the trading, industrial and technological revolutions as eras of systemic change in Europe. But whilst the significance of the historic surges since the late 15th Century is widely known, the formative relevance of the age before that is less recognised. Professor Le Goff addresses that and brilliantly provides an intriguing and convincing explanation of the vital importance of the early centuries of the second millennium for the shaping of Europe and its identity and diversities." Neil Kinnock, Vice-President, European Commission
"Jacques Le Goff has capped off a lifetime of contemplating the Middle Ages with this work of great insight and learning. A fascinating rumination on the structure of medieval culture and society." Norman F. Cantor, Late of New York University
"This book distils the life's work of one of the great historians of our time. It is remarkable equally for the breadth of its learning, the clarity of its exposition, and the depth of its humanity and wisdom. Anyone who asks why Europe needs its history, or why History needs Europe, should read it." R. I. Moore, Professor Emeritus, University of Newcastle
In this ground-breaking new study,Jacques Le Goff, arguably the leading medievalist of his generation, presents his view of the primacy of the Middle Ages in the development of European history.
- "[A] superb and necessary book. This provocative assessment from a lifetime of scholarship might help us to place ourselves, not just territorially, but in that other precious element of history: time." The Guardian
- "A book that never fails to be informative, readable and provocative. Le Goff... has been the bravest and best of champions for medieval history. This book... is in every sense an inspiration." BBC History Magazine
- Praised by prominent figures in Europe and history including: Rt Hon Christopher Patten, CH, Former Member of the European Commission, and Neil Kinnock, Vice-President, European Commission.
In this ground-breaking new study, Jacques Le Goff, arguably the leading medievalist of his generation, presents his view of the primacy of the Middle Ages in the development of European history.
About the Author
"Recommended ... .Illustrate[s] the continuing differences on how scholars treat the past, differences found among early modern scholars as well as medievalists." (Sixteenth Century Journal
, Summer 2009)
"A book that never fails to be informative, readable and provocative. [Le Goff] has been the bravest and best of champions for medieval history. This book, written by its author at the age of 80, is in every sense an inspiration." (BBC History Magazine)
"[A] superb and necessary book. This provocative assessment from a lifetime of scholarship might help us to place ourselves, not just territorially, but in that other precious element of history: time." (The Guardian)
"Le Goff authoritatively traces the initial development of virtually all aspects of modern society." (The Morning Star)
"A fine survey of medieval Europe that will benefit both specialists and non-specialists alike." (History: Reviews of New Books)
"Le Goff's book not only embodies his long-term project of a new political history but is a politically engaged history in the most valuable sense: it should be on the compulsory reading list of politicians everywhere." (Reviews in History)
Table of Contents
Series Editors Preface.
1. The Conception of Europe (Fourth to Eighth Centuries).
2. An Aborted Europe: The Carolingian World (Eighth to Tenth Centuries).
3. A Dream of Europe and the Potential Europe of the Year 1000.
4. Feudal Europe (Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries).
5. The “Fine” Europe of Towns and Universities (Thirteenth Century).
6. The Autumn of the Middle Ages or the Spring of a New Age?.
A Selective Thematic Bibliography.