The New Huizinga and the Old Middle Ages

Speculum 74 (3):587-620 (1999)
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Historical studies may become classics for the wrong reasons, as did Henry Thode's Francis of Assisi or Michelet's Joan of Arc, which we now regard as cultural icons in their own right, emblems of specific elements of the cultures of the era in which they were written. We do not, however, read them for the insight they provide into their declared subjects, nor are their conclusions those of current scholarship. Other studies become classics for the right reasons. The year 1999 marks the eightieth anniversary of the publication of Johan Huizinga's Herfsttij der Middeleeuwen: Studie over levens- en gedachtenvormen der veertiende en vijftiende eeuw in Frankrijk en de Nederlanden, “The Autumn [or Harvest, or Waning, or Decline, or Evening] of the Middle Ages: A Study of the Forms of Life and Thought in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries in France and the Netherlands [or the Low Countries, or the Burgundian Low Countries].”



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