Studies in Mediaeval Culture

Studies in Mediaeval Culture

Studies in Mediaeval Culture

Studies in Mediaeval Culture

Excerpt

So far as these studies in mediaeval culture have a common theme, it is the illustration of mediaeval civilization through the Latin literature of the times. The first three chapters deal with the mediaeval student, as seen in his letters, in sermons and exempla, and in the Latin manuals of deportment and conversation prepared for his guidance. The next chapter sketches the channels through which ideas and information spread in the Middle Ages. Chapter V treats of the Latin literature of sport and games, Chapter VI of the impression which the Emperor Frederick II and his court made upon his Latin contemporaries. Science is then touched in a Latin treatise on alchemy ascribed to Frederick's astrologer, Michael Scot. Contacts of the Western world with Byzantium are illustrated in the fields of relic-hunting, doctrinal controversy, hagiology, and the occult. The rise of the new Latin rhetoric of the Middle Ages is briefly traced in Italy and beyond the Alps. Chapters X and XI are concerned with heresy and the Inquisition in Northern France. In the concluding chapter the progress of mediaeval studies in the United States is exemplified by brief memoirs of the two leading American mediaevalists of the past generation, Henry Charles Lea and Charles Gross.

Much of the material comes from manuscripts, much from printed texts of a sort which has received too little attention from historians, so that references to the great editions of the chroniclers are comparatively few (except in Chapter X), and those to the standard collections of theology and law are still fewer. Of course these great repositories of narrative, documentary, and theological texts are fundamental for our knowledge of the structure of mediaeval society and the content of the mediaeval mind, but, taken by themselves, they give too bald and conventional an impression of mediaeval life and thought; and they need to be supplemented not only by vernacular literature and art but also by the more informal and . . .

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