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The Waning of the Middle Ages Paperback – July 3, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-1445701622 ISBN-10: 1445701626

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Paperback, July 3, 2010
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 338 pages
  • Publisher: lulu.com (July 3, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1445701626
  • ISBN-13: 978-1445701622
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 4.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,660,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In 1919, Johan Huizinga revealed in the original version of this book that the ideals, aspirations, and behaviors of humanity in history were dramatically different from those in present day. In Herfsttjj der Middeleeuwen, he recalled the waning years of the Middle Ages--the low countries in northern Europe in the 14th and 15th centuries--and argued against those who claimed that human belief systems remain the same even if contexts change. His account rested not on historical fact, but on the emotions and ambitions of the people as expressed through the art and literature of their culture. Many people treated the book as groundbreaking work, and it was translated into English in 1924. This new translation is a complete, more direct version of the original and allows modern readers a full appreciation of life in an era rarely revisited. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

The new translation will no doubt bring Huizinga and his pioneering work back into the discussion of historical interpretation and encourage the English-speaking world to appreciate his achievement. -- The New York Times Book Review, Rosamond McKitterick --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Purchased this book for my husband because we were told it was great.
D. Howard
It analyzes the nature of both the plastic arts and the literary, religion and symbolism, chivalry and politics, and love and pessimism to the Medieval mind.
Gregory Alan Wingo
This is important to me, as I find that many books of this type will kind of peter out at the end, as if the author tired of the subject.
Georgia Hollinger

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Caraculiambro on February 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
Though this book is absolutely excellent (though the style takes a little getting used to), it shouldn't be the first book you read on the Middle Ages.

I say that not so much because the book is difficult, as because it's elliptical. The book has a lot of discussion about themes prevalent in the art and literature of the later Middle Ages, but it's not a "history": it doesn't tell you what happened.

For example, to make a point about fastidious medieval protocol, Huizinga relates an anecdote about the battle of Crecy. But he never explains what the battle was, who fought in it, or why it was important. He assumes you already know that stuff, so don't come to this book looking for a more straightforward history. This is more a discussion of the major themes and movements of the age, divided by chapter.

Another thing you should know: the lion's share of the discussion in the book has to do with the low countries.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Crawford on June 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
I first read this book 25 years ago in college. At the time, it was one of those book I just wanted to get through for a grade, but there were details of it I remembered, such as the common practice of sllicing apples into thirds to represent the Trinity.
Well, picking up this book to re-read while living in Europe turned out to be a far greater pleasure than I imagined. Huizinga offers an elegant portrait of an entire era, the Late Middle Ages, in both visual and intellectual detail. You learn about codes of honor, the different ways in which life was perceived, and the practices of love. It is beautifully written and vivid.
There are limitation to the approach, of course. It is not about economics or living standards. It does not function as a survey, and hence the reader must have solid knowledge of medieval history before starting the book. You will have to get these elsewhere. But if you come to this book with the right expectations, it is fascinating and wonderful from cover to cover.
Warmly recommended.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Riccardo on October 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
How many of us can clearly remember specific ideas from the books we read as undergrads in the mad rush of our youth? But in reflective moments I find myself turning over one more time the chief idea discussed in the abridged paperback translation of this work: that Chivalry was an "aesthetical ideal", praised and alluded to everywhere in the European art and politics of the Middle Ages, yet practiced by few. I've learned to see much of the stock language of art, politics, and diplomacy of our own time through the model of the "aesthetical ideal": democracy, peace, and equality fit the concept. A good idea is worth the price of a book...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Andres C. Salama on December 17, 2006
Format: Paperback
Written originally in dutch in 1919 (the first english translation appeared in 1924), this is a classic of medieval historiography. Huizinga's main thesis goes something like this: the black death of the late 1340s, which decimated European population, brought as a result a morbid sensibility to European culture. It meant also a return to religion, as the cult and veneration of saints grew enormously during the last half of the 13th century and throughout the 14th century. This would bring in excesses of its own, and would lead the way for the reformation of the 15th century to counter it. But the book is more than just the lay out of this thesis, as Huizinga show us the daily life and thoughts of the late middle ages (based mostly from french and flemish sources) in a very vivid way.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book deserves more than 5 stars. I can't believe it out of print! It must be because of the new and rather sterile translation: the Autumn of the Middle Ages. The new translation leaves me cold. The Waning of the Middle Ages made a very deep impression on me in college. It is one of the few books that I have read completely through twice (not simply read portions of later)...I will refer back to it for the rest of my life. It is a splended fusion of literature and historical vision. Everyone I know who studied any medieval history was asigned this work and loves it still. Everyone remembers the openning phrase, "When the world was half a thousand years younger..." Today's students should be able to obtain this marvelous gem.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bootsie LeBlanc on August 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book stands out most as an example of what happens when history goes beyond a mere recounting of linear events, and takes the brave step of actually synthesizing information. The book serves to train readers to look at a another epoch on its own terms and through the eyes of that epoch's people. Those who criticize the book for using "dated" scholarship miss the point. This work has earned the right to be exempt from the passing and pretentious fads of modern scholarship. Just read it and enjoy the insights.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By "anaflavia" on September 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a very helpful book, especially for people who are looking for accurate historical analysis. ALthough written in the beginning of the XX century, it shares a lot of the spirit of what was called 'cultural history'. The author reveals how the people on the late Middle Age (i.e. century XIV) feel, how they see the cavalry rules and habits, what's the place of religion, how art was important for creating a common culture... And, besides all that, he helps us understand that Renassaince didn't come out of nowhere, but brings a lot of medieval thought with it. A fantastic book!
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