Synopses & Reviews
To write this history of the imagination, Le Goff has recreated the mental structures of medieval men and women by analyzing the images of man as microcosm and the Church as mystical body; the symbols of power such as flags and oriflammes; and the contradictory world of dreams, marvels, devils, and wild forests.
"Le Goff is one of the most distinguished of the French medieval historians of his generation . . . he has exercised immense influence."—Maurice Keen, New York Review of Books
"The whole book turns on a fascinating blend of the brutally materialistic and the generously imaginative."—Tom Shippey, London Review of Books
"The richness, imaginativeness and sheer learning of Le Goff's work . . . demand to be experienced."—M. T. Clanchy, Times Literary Supplement
The collection begins with an essay on 'the marvelous.' Le Goff highlights subtle changes in medieval attitudes and sensibilities by contrasting the marvelous (representing a 'secularization' of the supernatural after the thirteenth century) with the miraculous (depending solely on God's saving grace) and the magical (governed by Satan's destructive activity).
About the Author
Jacques Le Goff
(1927-2014) was a prominent French historian and medievalist. He was a key proponent of the Annales school of historical analysis, which emphasizes longterm social history over political or military themes. He argued that the Middle Ages were a distinct form of civilization, substantively different from both the classsical and modern worlds.
Arthur Goldhammer is an award-winning translator who has translated books by Georges Duby, Jacques Le Goff, and Jean Starobinski.
Table of Contents
For an Extended Middle Ages
Part One: The Marvelous
The Marvelous in the Medieval West
Part Two: Space and Time
The Wilderness in the Medieval West
The Perception of Christendom by the Roman Curia and the Organization of an Ecumenical Countil in 1274
The Time of Purgatory (Third to Thirteenth Century)
The Time of the Exemplum (Thirteenth Century)
Part Three: The Body
Body and Ideology in the Medieval West
Gestures in Purgatory
The Repudiation of Pleasure
Part Four: Literature and Imagination
Lévi-Strauss in Broceliande: A Brief Analysis of a Courtly Romance
Vestimentary and Alimentary Codes in Erec et Enide
Warriors and Conquering Bourgeois: The Image of the City in Twelfth-Century French Literature
An Urban Metaphor of William of Auvergne
Social Realities and Ideological Codes in the Early Thirteenth Century: An Exemplum by James of Vitry
Part Five: Dreams
Christianity and Dreams (Second to Seventh Century)
The Dreams of Helmbrecht the Elder