Reference Studies in Medieval History

By James Westfall Thompson | Go to book overview

PREFACE

The first edition of this manual was privately printed for the use of my own students in 1907. A revised and enlarged edition appeared in 1914. It has now grown by accretion to the present dimension, and is formally published, not only for my own classes, but also for the wider reading public. During these years which have elapsed I have had frequent requests for copies from former students engaged in teaching, from reference librarians, and from an occasional studious reader, facts which encouraged the belief that the syllabus may prove of convenience as a guide to others. Of its advantage in the classroom I am convinced by actual usage and experiment, and it is a satisfaction to know that the manual has been employed with success by teachers of history in other institutions.

This is a syllabus of subjects, not of lectures, although the lecture method may be employed in the course of instruction, prepared for students who are already familiar with the outlines of medieval history. The topics have been selected with special reference to the great organic movements or institutions of medieval history, and with the aim of stimulating the student to think for himself and of directing his reading. The references range from those of the simpler sort to those of a larger nature, some of which are designed as a guide to investigation of a particular subject deeper than it may be necessary for the class as a whole to go, or even to assist the student in after-reading. All the references are to works in English; but many of the books cited will be of guidance to the student if he should desire to consult French and German works. I have attempted, however, to familiarize the student indirectly with works in other languages by reference to many book reviews in the English Historical Review and the American Historical Review. The variety of topics and the graduated nature of the reading material makes flexible use of the syllabus possible. It can be used in daily class work, in lecture courses, for oral or written reports, or for quarterly papers.

The first citations under each rubric are (when practicable) to source matter available in English translation. Special attention is called to the large amount of periodical literature cited. Better reading is often to be found in journals and reviews than in books. While a very large library would be necessary for reference to every work or article cited, an excellent working library might be selected from the books here listed.

JAMES WESTFALL THOMPSON

UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO October 1, 1923

-v-

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