The Birth of Europe: 400 - 1500 / Edition 1

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In this ground-breaking book, the great French historian Jacques Le Goff places the genesis of Europe firmly in the Middle Ages. He contends that it was in the Middle Ages that many of the institutions and beliefs we consider to be 'European' were defined and developed for the first time: ideas about a common Christian society, public spaces, courtship and marriage. The Birth of Europe presents the historical facts and events that shaped the period, but also the formation of attitudes and concepts of a European 'dream'. The Middle Ages manifested the combination of diversity and unity present in Europe today: the mixing of populations, West-East and North-South oppositions, but above all the unifying role of culture. Le Goff shows that of all the periods that have contributed to our common European heritage, and will continue to shape Europe's future, the Middle Ages are the most significant. The book will be enjoyed by loyal followers of Le Goff, as well as anyone interested in how 'Europe' was born.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Recommended ... .Illustrate[s] the continuing differences on how scholars treat the past, differences found among early modern scholars as well as medievalists." (Sixteenth Century Journal, Summer 2009)

"A book that never fails to be informative, readable and provocative. [Le Goff] has been the bravest and best of champions for medieval history. This book, written by its author at the age of 80, is in every sense an inspiration." (BBC History Magazine)

"[A] superb and necessary book. This provocative assessment from a lifetime of scholarship might help us to place ourselves, not just territorially, but in that other precious element of history: time." (The Guardian)

"Le Goff authoritatively traces the initial development of virtually all aspects of modern society." (The Morning Star)

"A fine survey of medieval Europe that will benefit both specialists and non-specialists alike." (History: Reviews of New Books)

"Le Goff's book not only embodies his long-term project of a new political history but is a politically engaged history in the most valuable sense: it should be on the compulsory reading list of politicians everywhere." (Reviews in History)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405156820
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 11/30/2006
  • Series: Making of Europe Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 292
  • Product dimensions: 6.05 (w) x 9.05 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Jacques Le Goff is Professor of History at L’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. He is among France’s “great” historians, and is considered internationally to be one of the foremost scholars of his generation. He has written widely on medieval history, and his books include Medieval Civilization (Blackwell, 1990), Intellectuals and the Middle Ages (Blackwell, 1993), and The Medieval World (1997).

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Table of Contents

Series Editors Preface.




1. The Conception of Europe (Fourth to Eighth Centuries).

2. An Aborted Europe: The Carolingian World (Eighth to Tenth Centuries).

3. A Dream of Europe and the Potential Europe of the Year 1000.

4. Feudal Europe (Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries).

5. The “Fine” Europe of Towns and Universities (Thirteenth Century).

6. The Autumn of the Middle Ages or the Spring of a New Age?.



A Selective Thematic Bibliography.


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