Inventing the Middle Ages

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Inventing the Middle Ages

Norman F. Cantor, Frederick Davidson


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In this groundbreaking work, Norman Cantor explains how our current notion of the Middle Ages—with its vivid images of wars, tournaments, plagues, saints and kings, knights and ladies—was born in the twentieth century. The medieval world was not simply excavated through systematic research. It had to be conceptually created: it had to be invented, and this is the story of that invention.

Cantor focuses on the lives and works of twenty of the great medievalists of this century, demonstrating how the events of their lives, and their spiritual and emotional outlooks, influenced their interpretations of the Middle Ages. He makes their scholarship an intensely personal and passionate exercise, full of color and controversy, displaying the strong personalities and creative minds that brought new insights about the past.


Norman F. Cantor:

Norman F. Cantor (1929–2004) was emeritus professor of history, sociology, and comparative literature at New York University. His academic honors included appointments as a Rhodes Scholar, Porter Ogden Jacobus Fellow at Princeton University, and Fulbright professor at Tel Aviv University. His earlier books include Inventing the Middle Ages, nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award, and The Civilization of the Middle Ages, one of the most widely read narratives of the Middle Ages in the English language.