- Paperback: 490 pages
- Publisher: University of Chicago Press; Paperback edition (November 24, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0226359948
- ISBN-13: 978-0226359946
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 24 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #546,847 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Autumn of the Middle Ages Paperback Edition
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I thought they were the same book when I ordered from Amazon -- there was no information to indicate otherwise. I only realized that "The Autumn of the Middle Ages" was a completely different version after I read the introduction. And a few pages into the main text, I simply couldn't continue. The translators might think they were doing their students a favor by bringing in a newer, fuller translation, but no amount of good intention can compensate for dullness. On the second try I correctly ordered the "The Waning of the Middle Ages" and instantly understand why it is a classic when I started reading it. So whoever made the same mistake as I did the first time, don't give up. Get "The Waning" instead and you will love it.
This translation of the book seems solid. It includes a lot of text from original documents, many in French, or Latin, but includes English translations in the footnotes section. A few parts of the book were more difficult to work through than others, but in the end I felt like I had gained a new insight into European history. I particularly think that Huizinga's thoughts about the Christian church in this era leading to the reformation make for fascinating reading.
If you are interested in what life in the late middle ages may have been like then I highly recommend this book. Keep in mind that it is a historical exposition about this era, not a textbook treatment full of facts. Personally, it has kindled enough interest in this subject for me to warrant further study- hopefully it will do the same for you.
I think Cantor does Huzinga a disservice, for I found "Autumn" to be eye opening both for its adept analysis and its innovative method. Huzingia is a fore runner of later developments in social history, both in France and the United States. He anticipates the field of "Cultural Studies" in his blend of source materials and thematic chapter arrangement.
It's hard not to think of Foucault as one meanders through three hundred pages of tossed off analysis if how people thought about allegories five hundred years ago in northern france. As Cantor says, Huzingia wrote this book with sources available in any "second tier library". Pretty much any criticism one might have of Foucault's scholarship one might apply here.
It is the speculative nature of Huzingia's scholarship that is both the greatest strength and weakness of "Autumn".
This book is heavy treading. The quotations are printed in their original language, with a footnote at the bottom. The translators have added end notes to explain the more obscure cultural references, but they are END notes, so of little use during the reading. This is not really a "read on the go" type of book. I found I had to focus on reading 20-30 pages a night for a couple of weeks.
Autumn provides an insight into the life and times of the middle ages, leading into the Renaissance. The content is interesting, but the presentation is very dense and hotch-potch. The chapters are dilineated around a theme, but within the chapters the ideas are not structurally tied in a tangible sequence.
Good book...but only for the serious reader with the fortitude to plow through it.