Medieval Civilization 400-1500
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Medieval Civilization 400-1500

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  292 ratings  ·  10 reviews
In this engrossing study of an 1,100-year period that transformed ancient Europe, celebrated medievalist Jacques Le Goff explores the startling contradictions that helped to forge a durable civilization. It was a period of violence and bloodshed, in which plague and harsh natural conditions conspired against progress. It was also a period of nation-building and considerabl...more
Hardcover, 409 pages
Published 2011 by Folio Society (first published 1964)
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I had to read this book for my Medieval Ages class in College. It is a very interesting book and the author aproaches the subject in a very interesting way.

However, I did find a bit complicated to keep track of his thoughts throughout the book, he kind of loses himself at some point.

To be honest, there are more light reading if you want something easy about Medieval Civilization, BUT I would be lying if I told you this is a bad book. It isn't, it is an excelent book, specially if you are in Co...more
Vif et polémique, le Goff offre une synthèse de la civilisation médiévale qui semble répugner à l'utilisation de type structuraux (Dumézil ou Duby) mais paye son tribu à l'école des Annales. Le Goff s'en prend surtout aux tenants "optimistes" d'une "première Renaissance" médiévale, au prix parfois (à mon goût) de quelques raccourcis, en particulier sur la civilisation matérielle et technique.
Jul 27, 2013 Sylvia rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: any one who wants to know more about medieval Europe
Very good, but not easy to read, study on medieval culture. The book begins with an historical overview, but the second part - the largest - concentrates on all kinds of aspects of the medieval society and its development during its 1000 years duration.
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in January 1999.

Medieval Civilization is an examination of the Middle Ages as a culture, an attempt to get into the minds of men and women quite alien to modern thought patters yet from whom modern culture derives.

Available for many years in France before being translated into English (at which point some revision was made), le Goff's work fits very much into the style of French historical writing whose best known exponent was Fernand Braudel. The earlier per...more
At times this book flares up with some great insights. I was spellbound by Le Goff's ideas about medieval literature, and his discussion of cosmology. On the other hand, I was put off by the disorganized presentation, the author's thinly veiled animosity towards religion and the very dull chapters on economics. I do realize that Le Goff is an Annales historian, but the last part of this work is so scattershot in its approach that I can remember few of its important points. Although it is, for th...more
Sara W
Well, I finally finished this book. It was good overall, although some parts were better and more interesting than others. It bordered on being an academic writing (or so it seemed), so some sections were a tad dry and a decent amount just went over my head even when I was concentrating. There is a ton of information in this book though, so I'm sure it's one that I will pick up again in the future to see if any of it makes more sense to me (right now, a lot of the names and dates mentioned don't...more
Open University's Cultural History course book
The early chapters were a nightmare because of all the lists of barbarian attacks. It just got me all dizzy and I wished he would have just told about the ones that were of great signifigance to medieval culture. Also, some of the foreign language phrases weren't even translated. Not all bad but it came across as a bit too heavy for me.
Marc L
Knap overzicht, maar wellicht op vele punten al gedateerd. Wel opvallend korte behandeling van de laatmiddeleeuwse periode. 1ste druk van het werk dateert al van 1964, maar standaardwerk, typerend voor de Annalesschool,
Gebruik van verhalende bronnen, en kunstwerken.
Comme a dit Umberto Eco à Fontevraud (en présence de Le Goff lui-même) en 2007: "avec ce livre j'ai eu une révélation: j'ai enfin su qu'au Moyen Age, ils mangeaient des fèves." Un livre-clé pour comprendre le Moyen Age par le plus grand médiéviste français actuel.
Non è una lettura da spiaggia, ma per il resto vale tutto il tempo che ci si perde sopra.
Un libro da non perdere
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A prolific medievalist of international renown, Le Goff is sometimes considered the principal heir and continuator of the movement known as Annales School (École des Annales), founded by his intellectual mentor Marc Bloch. Le Goff succeeded Fernand Braudel in 1972 at the head of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) and was succeeded by François Furet in 1977. Along with Pierre...more
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