Siria's Reviews > Understanding Medieval Primary Sources: Using Historical Sources to Discover Medieval Europe

Understanding Medieval Primary Sources by Joel T. Rosenthal
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's review
Sep 15, 12

bookshelves: essays, european-history, historiography, history, nonfiction
Read from September 12 to 15, 2012

One of those books which I really wish I'd had access to as an upper level undergrad or a beginning Master's student, Understanding Medieval Primary Sources provides a brief introduction to some of the main kinds of sources, how historians have used/can use them, and what their advantages and pitfalls are. Some of the essays recount the range of sources available to a scholar writing on a particular topic, like Philip Slavin's chapter on sources for English manorial and rural history; others, like Katherine French's on women's history, are broader and engage with issues of methodology and process. While inevitably in a book of this size, some important sources are omitted (we hear about sermons as primary sources, for instance, but nothing about hagiographies or liturgies), the endnotes and further reading lists are valuable and will no doubt be thoroughly mined by people who are beginning to read in the field of medieval studies.
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