The Historical Present Medievalism and Modernity

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2011-03-17
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
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Medievalism has become a central concern for those studying and teaching medieval history. It can be distinguished from traditional medieval history because it is not directly concerned with the study of the Middle Ages themselves, but rather it looks at how ideas about the medieval era operate in modern culture. This volume breaks new ground by moving beyond the arena of contemporary popular culture by interpreting modern academic attitudes towards the Middle Ages as themselves forms of medievalism. What is presented as refined historical truth is no more than a construction of truth derived from the larger philosophical and cultural trends of our own day. This volume argues that modernity's sense of the medieval past is the product of the dominant intellectual movements of the nineteenth century, Romanticism and Idealism, and that nineteenth century attitudes have continued to inform current understandings of the Middle Ages. This is a narrative that combines the main themes of modern scholarship on the medieval age with a subtly portrayed picture of the philosophical culture which produced them.

Table of Contents

Preface / Introduction / 1: Progress, Decline and Fall -Historiography and the Middle Ages in the Age of Reason / 2: A New Order of Things - Kant, Pre-Romanticism and the Emergence of the Modern Medievalism / 3: Golden Ages and Perfect Presents - Romanticism, Idealism and the Middle Ages / 4: Professors and Professionals - Medieval history and the Nineteenth- Century Academic Environment / 5: As it Really Was - Academic Medieval history into the Twentieth Century / 6: The Waning of Progress - Radical Historiography into the Twentieth Century / 7: From Process to Structure - the Annales School and Twentieth Century Academic Medieval History / 8: The New Romantics - Literature, Literacy and late Twentieth Century Understandings of the Middle Ages / 9: The Shock of the Old - Medieval History and the Formation of the current Academic Environment / Epilogue

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