What is Medieval History? (review)

What is Medieval History? (review) Reviews Arnold, John H., What is Medieval History? Cambridge, Polity Press, 2008; paperback; pp. ix, 155; 4 b/w illustrations; R.R.P. US$19.95; ISBN 9780745639338. In an unassuming form, John Arnold has produced an engaging and insightful manifesto for medieval studies, and it makes unexpectedly gripping reading. Like an airport thriller, the action begins in line one with the interrogation of Bartolomeo, a priest, his torture and the revelation of a magical plot to assassinate the pope. But this is not Dan Brown, and even as he tells the tale, Arnold is already picking it apart, showing how the fabric of the historical record can seem to uphold the popular image of `the medieval' while simultaneously challenging both it, and its implicit separation from `the modern'. Indeed, the problem of what exactly `medieval' means ­ how it developed as a concept, how this continues to affect the way we think about it, and the problems this presents ­ is one of his consistent themes. Although there is medieval history in this book, it is principally about doing medieval history. Inherited frameworks for understanding and undertaking medieval history are the focus of the first chapter. Arnold's historiographical observations are brief, but http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Parergon Australian & New Zealand Association of Medieval & Early Modern Studies, Inc. (ANAZAMEMS, Inc.)

What is Medieval History? (review)

Parergon, Volume 27 (1) – Jul 14, 2010

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Publisher
Australian & New Zealand Association of Medieval & Early Modern Studies, Inc. (ANAZAMEMS, Inc.)
Copyright
Copyright © Australian & New Zealand Association of Medieval & Early Modern Studies, Inc. (ANAZAMEMS, Inc.)
ISSN
1832-8334
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Reviews Arnold, John H., What is Medieval History? Cambridge, Polity Press, 2008; paperback; pp. ix, 155; 4 b/w illustrations; R.R.P. US$19.95; ISBN 9780745639338. In an unassuming form, John Arnold has produced an engaging and insightful manifesto for medieval studies, and it makes unexpectedly gripping reading. Like an airport thriller, the action begins in line one with the interrogation of Bartolomeo, a priest, his torture and the revelation of a magical plot to assassinate the pope. But this is not Dan Brown, and even as he tells the tale, Arnold is already picking it apart, showing how the fabric of the historical record can seem to uphold the popular image of `the medieval' while simultaneously challenging both it, and its implicit separation from `the modern'. Indeed, the problem of what exactly `medieval' means ­ how it developed as a concept, how this continues to affect the way we think about it, and the problems this presents ­ is one of his consistent themes. Although there is medieval history in this book, it is principally about doing medieval history. Inherited frameworks for understanding and undertaking medieval history are the focus of the first chapter. Arnold's historiographical observations are brief, but

Journal

ParergonAustralian & New Zealand Association of Medieval & Early Modern Studies, Inc. (ANAZAMEMS, Inc.)

Published: Jul 14, 2010

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