A Cultural History of Ideas in the Medieval Age, Vol. 2

Bloomsbury Academic. (Cultural Histories). Jan. 2023. 1,728p. ed. by Dallas G. Denery II. ISBN 9781350007550. $550. REF
This volume, the second of six in Bloomsbury’s “A Cultural History of Ideas,” examines the years 500–1450. The introduction refers to a scholarly bias that this period was one of stagnation, illiteracy, and superstition. This volume reassesses those years, demonstrating that they were more diverse and culturally rich than usually acknowledged. In nine chapters, each written by a scholar or expert, this guide analyzes Western thought and ideas from various interdisciplinary viewpoints. The chapter titles match those of the other volumes in the series: “Knowledge”; “The Human Self”; “Ethics and Social Relations”; “Politics and Economies”; “Nature”; “Religion and the Divine”; “Language, Poetry, and Rhetoric”; “The Arts”; “History.” This book is enhanced by colorful illustrations, including artworks, diagrams, and illuminated manuscripts. The book contains a bibliography of primary and secondary sources and a list of contributors and their qualifications. The result is a scholarly, well-organized guide that helps convey the complexity of the Middle Ages and might help readers to view the era in a more positive way.
VERDICT An excellent history resource for academic libraries.
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