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The Autumn of the Middle Ages by Johan…

The Autumn of the Middle Ages (original 1919; edition 1996)

by Johan Huizinga, Rodney J. Payton (Translator), Ulrich Mammitzsch (Translator)

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2,094223,153 (4.1)37
Title:The Autumn of the Middle Ages
Authors:Johan Huizinga
Other authors:Rodney J. Payton (Translator), Ulrich Mammitzsch (Translator)
Info:University Of Chicago Press (1996), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 467 pages
Collections:Your library, Munich, History, 2012 Reading

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The Waning of the Middle Ages by Johan Huizinga (1919)


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» See also 37 mentions

English (13)  Dutch (6)  German (2)  Swedish (1)  All languages (22)
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Huizinga writes vividly and with a keen eye for an engaging anecdote, but overall I found The Waning of the Middle Ages (also translated into English as The Autumn or The Decline of the Middle Ages) to be more useful as a source for early twentieth-century understandings of the Middle Ages, and indeed for then contemporary culture, than for the medieval period itself. The particular topics on which Huizinga chooses to write are interesting, and indeed presage many of the studies which later cultural historians and historians of mentalité, would produce—feuds and hairstyles, colour symbolism and pageantry.

But the tone and measure of the judgement which Huizinga passes on fourteenth and fifteenth-century western Europe was a turn-off to me. One of the tricky balancing acts which historians must of course perform is to pass judgment without being judgemental; to recognise their own roles in constructing historical narratives without letting their own particular presence warp that narrative. It's not an act which Huizinga pulls off; he is too convinced of the inherent superiority of his own period of history. He condescends to the Middle Ages as a period of childishness, of "superficiality, inexactness, and credulity"; Huizinga repeatedly informs the reader that medieval people said or did or believed things which "we" would of course disdain. I can see why this is a minor classic in the field, but it's not one which I found inspirational. ( )
  siriaeve | Nov 18, 2015 |
I read the old translation (The Waning of the Middle Ages) many years ago and found it vivid. I understand this new translation is considered better and conveys a more positive image of the late middle ages. ( )
1 vote antiquary | May 28, 2013 |
  saintmarysaccden | Apr 12, 2013 |
  saintmarysaccden | Apr 11, 2013 |
I would only add to baswood's excellent review that the emotionalism Huizinga describes also had to do with how young most people were. ( )
  Diane-bpcb | Jan 9, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
De twee eeuwen rond het jaar 1400 in de delen van Frankrijk en Nederland die toen Boergondië vormden, zijn het onderwerp van deze historie. Het is geen politieke geschiedenis, ook geen sociale of economische geschiedenis, maar een mentaliteitsgeschiedenis: hoe dachten en deden die late Middeleeuwen in onze buurt? Bij mijn derde lezing geef ik me gewonnen. Het gaat hier om een meesterwerk. En als ik straks tegen het monument ga schoppen, dan is dat omdat een artikel met louter lof niet prettig lezen is.

» Add other authors (37 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Huizinga, Johanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hollo, J. A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hopman, FrederikTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reutercrona, HansTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Van der Lem, AntonEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To the world when it was half a thousand years younger, the outlines of all things seemed more clearly marked than to us.
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Si l'on avait demandé à Johan Huizinga quel était le sujet fondamental de son livre, affirme Jacques Le Goff, il aurait parlé d'abord de l'imbrication intime du Moyen Âge et de ce que nous appelons la Renaissance. L'Automne du Moyen Âge décrit et analyse les " saveurs ", les " idées ", les " émotions " et les " images " dans lesquelles s'exprime une société qui meurt, celle du Moyen Âge, pour donner naissance à une autre, la Renaissance". Marc Bloch et Lucien Febvre ont souligné le caractère pionnier de ce livre. Huizinga y découvre en effet les nouveaux domaines de l'histoire : le corps, les sens, les rêves et l'imaginaire.
4e de couverture de l'édition 2002
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0226359921, Hardcover)

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 claimed that human belief systems remain the same even if contexts change. His account rested not on historical fact, but on the emotions and ambitions of the people as expressed through the art and literature of their culture. Many people treated the book as groundbreaking work, and it was translated into English in 1924. This new translation is a complete, more direct version of the original and allows modern readers a full appreciation of life in an era rarely revisited.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:33 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

So begins one of the most famous works of history ever published, Johan Huizinga's The Autumn of the Middle Ages. Few who have read this book in English realize that The Waning of the Middle Ages, the only previous translation, is vastly different from the original Dutch, and incompatible with all other European-language translations. Now, for the first time ever, the original version of this classic work has been translated into English. Herfsttij der Middeleeuwen, or The Autumn of the Middle Ages - the original title - is a brilliant portrait of life, thought, and art in fourteenth- and fifteenth- century France and the Netherlands. For Huizinga, this period marked not the birth of a dramatically new era in history, the Renaissance, but the fullest, ripest phase of medieval life and thought. Criticized both at home and in Europe for being "old-fashioned" and "too literary" when first published in 1919, the book is now recognized not only for its quality and richness as history, but also as a precursor to the Annales "histoire des mentalites" school of Marc Bloch and Lucien Febvre, two of the few reviewers who praised the book initially. In the 1924 translation, Fritz Hopman adapted, reduced, and altered the Dutch edition - softening Huizinga's often passionate arguments, dulling his nuances, and eliminating theoretical passages. He dropped many passages Huizinga had quoted in their original old French. Additionally, chapters are rearranged and redivided, all references are dropped, and mistranslations are introduced. This translation corrects such errors, recreating the second Dutch edition - which represents Huizinga's thinking at its most important stage - as closely as possible. Everything that was dropped or rearranged has been restored. Prose quotations appear in French, with translations printed at the bottom of the page. Mistranslations have been corrected. Payton and Mammitzsch also have added helpful material, including Huizinga's preface to the first and second Dutch editions (published in 1919 and 1921) and the one to the 1924 German translation, where he touches on the book's title and offers some thoughts on translations. Several notes clarify Huizinga's references to things which would be common knowledge only to Dutch readers. Huizinga frequently refers to paintings, sculptures, and carvings, some little known; this edition is the first in any language to include a full range of illustrations.… (more)

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