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Herbst des Mittelalters

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4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  2,361 Ratings  ·  94 Reviews
In 1919, Johan Huizinga revealed in the original version of this book that the ideals, aspirations, and behaviors of humanity in history were dramatically different from those in present day. In Herfsttjj der Middeleeuwen, he recalled the waning years of the Middle Ages--the low countries in northern Europe in the 14th and 15th centuries--and argued against those who claim ...more
Hardcover
Published 2006 by Kröner (first published 1919)
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Baldwin_tina The Waning of the Middle Ages was the only English translation for many years. The Autumn of the Middle Ages is a newer, more accurate translation…moreThe Waning of the Middle Ages was the only English translation for many years. The Autumn of the Middle Ages is a newer, more accurate translation and, in my opinion, easier and more fun to read.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jan-Maat
Bought this by mistake thinking it was a book by Burckhardt, which was obviously pretty stupid as it clearly says Huizinga on the cover. But The Waning of the Middle Ages had been on my mind to read for some time so I surrendered to the serendipity.

The book is an attempt to create a portrait of the age, specifically of the culture of the higher levels of society in Northern France and the Low Countries (there is a lot of focus on the court of the Dukes of Burgundy). So it is about what it was li
...more
Katie
Dec 11, 2011 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, history
This is a really difficult book for me to review. This is one of the first books that I ever read concerning medieval history, and it had quite a big impact on me, so Autumn of the Middle Ages is always going to have a special place in my heart. It's a really lovely book, beautifully written, and Huizinga makes genuinely fantastic use of stories and anecdotes. It's also full of some very good insights into medieval culture and it acts as a nice corrective to history books that rely solely on adm ...more
Darrick Taylor
Jun 12, 2012 Darrick Taylor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, art
Huizinga's work is a classic look at the literary and artistic culture of fifteenth century Burgundy and France. His thesis is basically that the literature and art of the ages reveals that a culture in decay, ripened to the point where its cultural "forms" (an idea he never defines exactly) have overgrown the ideas they were meant to convey. Huizinga believed that the boundary between what we call the Renaissance and the Middle Ages was porous, something that scholars today seem to accept for t ...more
AC
May 04, 2012 AC rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Apologies for the grumpy review -- but I'll let it stand. Future readers should read the comment section, which has more value than my current hrrruumphs!)

This book is too long and there is much too much of the author's psycho-social speculation in it - some of it is fairly good, a little of it is quite useless, and very, very little of it is absolutely essential or compelling.

The abundant and detailed evidence collected and adduced throughout this volume, on the other hand, is by far the best
...more
Elizabeth Smith
Apr 12, 2014 Elizabeth Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am not nearly enough of a historian to rate this book as overall correct or incorrect. My understanding of the study of history is to take many interpretations of learned historians into account and weigh them with the evidence. Is this source a bit dated? Of course it is -- it is nearly a hundred years old. But Huizinga's voice is lively and engaging. His erudition is great enough that he is allowed to have some sweeping opinions. He gives a very interesting perspective on this era and region ...more
Ted
Oct 22, 2014 Ted rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, have
A very learned work, and a lot to think about. More later.
David Huff
Oct 15, 2016 David Huff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spending time browsing through "Great Books" lists tends to turn up classics like this one, and since my knowledge of the Middle Ages was scant at best, I thought I'd give this older classic (published in 1924) a try. I was pleasantly surprised at Huizinga's writing style, which for the most part was quite interesting and engaging. His history largely covered France and the Netherlands, and dealt with a variety of characteristics of the 14th and 15th centuries; topics such as chivalry, vows, lov ...more
Marc
De ondertitel geeft getrouw de inhoud weer: geen overzicht van politieke, staatkundige, of militaire feiten (ook geen economische): wel een excursie in de diverse aspecten van de laat-middeleeuwse geesteshouding. Het accent ligt daarbij niet op filosofie en religie, wel op de geestesidealen van de bovenlaag: het ridder-ideaal, de erecodes, de hoofse liefdes, de realiteitszin, en dergelijke meer.
Kritiek: te eenzijdig gebaseerd op verhalende bronnen (maar wel bewuste techniek), geesteshouding voor
...more
Gregg Wingo
Dec 19, 2014 Gregg Wingo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Gregg by: Bertrand Russell
First of all, I would like to thank Bertrand Russell for inspiring me to read this book. He found Huizinga's reflections on the evolution of Western culture from the Medieval mindset to that of the Renaissance an aid in understanding his own experience of the rise of Modernism and the roots of its rejection in the horror of the Great War (World War I). I found it similarly interesting for my own experience of the transition from the Late Modernism of my childhood to the early Postmodernism of my ...more
nick
Sep 04, 2016 nick rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I could not finish this book, I just could not. In Dutch there is a word perfect to describe my sentiment; woordenbrij; roughly translated as mess of words.

I will not claim that the book is bad or wrong but the style of writing was just not my cup to tea and every chapter I got lost in the words. The problem is that this is a book nearly a hundred years old in a style nearly incomprehensible for a contemporary reader. I am a history major and I still could not immediately place every historical
...more
Katie
This is a really difficult book for me to review. This is one of the first books that I ever read concerning medieval history, and it had quite a big impact on me, so Autumn of the Middle Ages is always going to have a special place in my heart. It's a really lovely book, beautifully written, and Huizinga makes genuinely fantastic use of stories and anecdotes. It's also full of some very good insights into medieval culture and it acts as a nice corrective to history books that rely solely on adm ...more
Cat
Aug 22, 2007 Cat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In his histroiograhical tour of middle ages scholarship, Norman F. Cantor puts Huiznga in his "outriders" section at the back of the book. While he candidly acknowledges the populairty of the "waning of the middle ages" among undergraduates, he takes issue with Huizinga's scholarship.

I think Cantor does Huzinga a disservice, for I found "Autumn" to be eye opening both for its adept analysis and its innovative method. Huzingia is a fore runner of later developments in social history, both in Fra
...more
Timothy
Jan 15, 2014 Timothy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's difficult to balance the merits of this book against its faults. Aesthetically, it is a masterpiece, and anyone who enjoys reading history as literature regardless of its methodological rigor should not fail to read Huizinga's work. Surely one reason this book is so popular among teachers and students is that it masterfully conveys a mood of this particular era, treading a fine line between familiarity and strangeness.

I felt that the earlier chapters of this book aged better than the latter
...more
Carol
Aug 03, 2015 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The abbreviated version, purportedly translated from the German edition and truncated because Huizinga believed that Americans wouldn't understand the complete version, Be that as it may, I have read both this and the later complete translation (from the Dutch) and the important argument is here. Huizinga believed that in the late 14th and early 15th century the Mediaval faith had become ritualistic and overly ripe. The Western world was ready for something new, i. e the Renaissance. Relying hea ...more
DoctorM
A classic look at the final flowering of medieval culture--- a world alien in so many ways, yet whose obsessions seem all-too-familiar. The focus here is on northern France and the Low Countries, but Huizinga's vision is wide-ranging and informed. Even after so long, this is a key book for examining Western Europe between the Black Death and the Reformation. Beautifully written, and presented here in a new rendering that's far closer to the original text than the standard English version of "The ...more
Victoria
Severely dated, conceptually stunted, and deeply methodologically flawed. Burckhardtian in its attempt to capture the "mood" of the late middle ages, but based on a number of false premises (primarily, that the Renaissance was in any way secular, and that it lacked continuity with the culture of the middle ages, which apparently decayed and actually went away entirely) that add up to a distorted and unhistorical picture of the era.
icaro
La malinconica ferocia di un mondo al tramonto. Ideali, canzoni d'amore, tornei dove sovrani veri giocano con i simboli di un passato immaginato.
Un grande libro, un intramontabile classico della storiografia del primo novecento. Si legge come un romanzo perchè in ogni parola risuona l'amore dell'autore per il passato fiammeggiante di un paese scomparso dai libri di storia
Ron
Apr 24, 2008 Ron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the most remarkable history books in the Dutch language, covering the Middle Ages in France and the Netherlands ... first published in 1919 and this copy is at its 16th printing about 65 years later.
Sense History
This is a classic, of course. But I found it hard to read and appreciate.
The subtitle is correct: this is no overview of political, political, or military facts (also no economic ones), but rather an excursion in the various aspects of late-medieval attitudes of mind. The focus is not on philosophy and religion, but on the "ideals of the mind": the Knight-ideal, the codes of honour, courtly love, the sense of reality, and so on. I think it is a bit too one-sided based on narrative sources and it
...more
Toby Newton
Oct 18, 2016 Toby Newton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Worth it for the first thirty pages alone. More than anything it reminds us just how alienated we are from the raw conditions of life in the decadent, spoiled contemporary West. Experiencing the night as dark, the air as clean, health as vitality, and god as real and present - in short, a different world for a different species.
Robert
Oct 11, 2010 Robert rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-world
A classic, written in 1924, this is cultural history at its best. Rather than being a history, a chronicle, this is Huizinga's bold attempt to understand the culture of France and Burgundy as it was at the height of the Middle Ages - to recreate that thought world - to recreate its spiritual life, its theological assumptions, religious practices, its ethical ideals as well as actual behavior, its aesthetic principles, to explain what was regarded as beautiful in both its literature and its visua ...more
Kcatty
Jul 24, 2016 Kcatty rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: r-done, i-has-it, history
Okay, so this book was first published in 1919, meaning it's as old as my grandmother and I should give it some slack when it comes to critiquing the style and organization. So bear in mind if you want to read this book that it was written a hundred years ago.

It feels like Johan Huizinga had the idea to write a treatise or thesis on the late Medieval period in France and the Low Countries, but someone (probably his editor) along the way said, "This is too long for a paper, you should make into a
...more
Banbury
The author distinguishes elements that are Medieval, and those that are of the Renaissance--and shows where the two met and blended.
Kenneth
Jan 19, 2014 Kenneth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a classic in its field. A survey of the culture of 14th & 15th century France and the Low Countries (modern Belgium & the Netherlands), it was first published in Dutch in 1919. Huizinga sees these centuries as a time when Medieval culture as it was in the High Middle Ages, was becoming ossified. There was a pall of pessimism hanging over it. He doesn't really explain why this came about, just a feeling from him that Medieval culture had run its course, which he brilliantly s ...more
Sal
Jan 15, 2015 Sal rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
كتاب شيق
العصور الوسطى كما عاشتها اعلى طبقتين الحاكمة والدينية
والتطرق لثقافة عامة الشعب كان أقل لكنه فى المجمل جيد
فلو بتبحث عن كتاب يصف تفصيلا مظاهر "الجنان" اللى عاشته العصور الوسطى فالكتاب ده ضالتك

الكتاب فيه وصف تفصيلى لهيئات الفروسية حتى المتطرفة منها وحقة الوصل بينها وبين الرهبنة
ومظاهر الحقبة الرومانتيكية والرمزية المغرقة!وتأثيرها على الثقافة اجمالا

مشكلة رقم 1:
الكاتب نزع عن الفروسية مرة تأثيرها على نظام الحكم
وعاد مرة أخرى يصف مهاترات فروسية الملك اللى شق الطريق وحيدا لملاقاة فرسانه!

مشكلة رقم
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Sam Bruskin
Jul 17, 2016 Sam Bruskin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top, seminal
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Edwinnaarden
This book receives good marks and with good reason as it gives a view of the (late) Middle Ages which you don't usually get and explains the Medieval mind-set. Having said that it was a bit difficult reading maybe due to the fact that it is over 90 years old and translated from Dutch into English. It would also have been a bit better with some plates of the artwork talked about, although not really required. Also I read more British Medieval history and here the focus was on France and Burgundy ...more
Ryan
May 11, 2016 Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: medieval-history
An exceptional history, even if the author's judgements are highly subjective. Huizinga believes that realism or "naturalism" in art signifies a cultural decline. In the late Middle Ages this realistic sensibility profaned religion, produced detail without substance, and fostered tasteless public displays of wealth. Ideals (not just religious ones) were debased and old themes were trivially reiterated. Huizinga's focus is almost exclusively on France and Burgundy, but much of his writing is stil ...more
Sanne
Oct 21, 2012 Sanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Die-hard Middle Ages enthousiasts
Herfsttij is one of the classics in Medieval Studies and has had a profound inpact on academics. It is one of the stepping stones taken by academics to get where they are now. Nearly a century after its publication, most ideas represented in Huizinga's book are outdated. However, it remains a wonderful read for anyone with a keen interest in the Middle Ages and the academics geared towards studying this period.

The set-up and writing style of this book do not make for light reading. The sentence
...more
Leonardo
Feb 18, 2016 Leonardo marked it as to-keep-reference  ·  review of another edition
Políticos, comentaristas y estudiosos parecen todos confusos acerca de la magnitud del cambio. Llaman inevitablemente la atención el dolor de los que predominaron y la desorientación de los que fueron poderosos. La angustia del pasado se impone a la promesa del futuro. Este es un antiguo
fenómeno. El otoño de la Edad Media, la espléndida obra de Huizinga, lo refleja en relación con el Renacimiento. Lo que a nosotros, volviendo hacia atrás la mirada, se nos antoja un período brillante y apasionant
...more
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1813
Johan Huizinga was a Dutch historian and one of the founders of modern cultural history.
More about Johan Huizinga...

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