WILLIAM J. BOUWSMA. The Waning of the Middle Ages by Johan Huizinga. We have come a long way since Bury informed us so firmly that history is a science. The Waning of the Middle Ages has ratings and reviews. Jan-Maat said : Bought this by mistake thinking it was a book by Burckhardt, which was ob. Brilliant study of art, life and thought in France and the Netherlands during the 14th and 15th centuries explores the period’s splendor and simplicity, courtesy.

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The Waning Of The Middle Ages

Views Read Edit View history. A familiarity with the Middle Ages may have helped me to grasp the plentiful content wzning this book more firmly, but I felt it was still a very good introduction to the period. Much of this book is written not for the general reader, but for fellow Dutchmen and contemporaries.

There were a lot of quotes in the original form mainly French but also Italian, Latin, and some other languages and sometimes it got complicated constantly reading the footnotes but they were useful. Everything had to be nailed down with a meaning and a place in what was aspiring to be the Total System.

Once again a threat to any part was a threat to the whole ornate edifice of belief which sustained everyone and so even a small threat prompted hysterical over-reaction. 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 youth, and the Second Era of Globalization of my maturity. Book now cluttered with underlining and notes. His broad outlook and interdisciplinary approach, his concern with intellectual history and his evocative style made him — despite his expressly conservative views — one of the most modern of Dutch historians.

The Middle Ages are also discusses in his muddle of essays Men and Ideas. The language requires savoring as well as the time to digest complex thoughts. In addition, he was appointed editor of the literary journal De Gids and huisinga of the Division of Letters of the Royal Dutch Academy of the Sciences.

He gives a very interesting perspective on this era and region of history and he is nothing of not thought-provoking. Retrieved from ” https: Huizinga gained further international renown with his Homo ludensin which he framed the bold hypothesis that culture has emerged in all the great civilisations in the form of a game.

I like perusing an index to see names that are extensively referenced in the narrative. For it was not merely the great facts of birth, marriage and death which, by the sacredness of the sacrament, were raised to the rank of mysteries; incidents of tge importance, like a journey, a task, a visit, were equally attended by a thousand formalities: The cause of the war was simple: Apologies for the grumpy review — but I’ll let it stand.


The true study of miedle involves our imagination and conjures up conceptions, pictures, visions. A new English translation of the book was published in because of perceived deficiencies in the original translation, although the new translation itself was criticized for being based on a German translation of the original Dutch book needs citation as this statement is inaccurate. The beauty and simplicity of much of this kind of symbolism lives on to this day, especially when it is about the natural world.

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The Waning of the Middle Ages by Johan Huizinga

Both in form and in idea it is a product of the waning Middle Ages. Scholastic thought, with symbolism and strong formalism, the thoroughly dualistic conception of life and the world still dominated. Huizinga is discussing more than play, he is discussing human nature, the fundamental drives within human nature – “The spirit of playful competition is, as a social impulse, older than culture itself and pervades all life like a veritable ferment.

Literature and painting are held to have become increasingly unintelligible – poetry is represented as having maintained throughout history “a certain connection with rational expression I think I would’ve gotten more out of it if I had read it while I was still in school because it referenced names and events that sounded familiar but that I couldn’t quite place.

Even after so long, this is a key book for examining Western Europe between the Black Death and the Reformation.

This trio are often credited with introducing a new more realistic and sensual style into painting in the first half of the fifteenth century. This work, which is celebrated for its excellent literary quality and historical penetration, focuses on the 14th and 15th centuries in France and the Low Countries as exemplifying the last phase of the Middle Ages and discusses many aspects of medieval life: The contrast between suffering and joy, between adversity and happiness, appeared more striking.

However, one wonders if he manages more profound insights than more cautious and rigorous historians would achieve. Huizinga’s work later came under criticism, especially for relying too heavily on evidence from the rather exceptional case of the Burgundian court.

No trivia or quizzes yet. He retired for the summer to his mother-in-law’s farm, sat there in the “hot attic” with some material from the fifteenth century, and wrote the book before the fall called him back to the university.

The Waning of the Middle Ages by Johan Huizinga () | Books & Boots

He was educated there and in Leipzig, Germany. But all in all, the book is well worth one’s time for those interested in this period of European history, and a must read for serious students of that era. I am a history major and I still could not immediately place every historical figure or reference Huizinga used and even if I could it is a style I truly detest. It’s a bit dated and it’s far from perfect but it’s a real intellectual stimulant and one of the few history books I can see myself reading multiple times just for enjoyment.


In the book, Huizinga presents the idea that the exaggerated formality and romanticism of late medieval court society was a defense mechanism against the constantly increasing violence and brutality of general society. Herfsttij der middeleeuwen The will-to-complexity explains the gorgeous edifice of Courtly Love which grew up intertwined with the complex ideas of Chivalry. A brilliantly creative work that established the reputation of Dutch historian John Huizingathe book argues that the era of diminishing chivalry reflected the spirit of an This classic study of art, life, and thought in France and the Netherlands during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries ranks as one of the most perceptive analyses of the medieval period.

Chivalry was a kind of mass wish-fulfilment, the casting of all human behaviour into stereotyped and idealised patterns, which had tremendous psychological importance for all educated people of the time and many of the commoners. Christian dogma and the code of chivalry.

They consider American history beforeand they also look at modern society in general, including newspapers, movies and literature. Everyone was badly stressed by this appalling plight. The late medieval world overflowed with meaning all of it, fundamentally, spurious. This leads to history that carries a strong bias and is of dubious usefulness.

Literary agent Erven Aged Estate — J. The medieval mind can imagine no change, it has no theory of the gradual evolution of society and manners.

It is not until the closing years of the [nineteenth] century that one sees poetry purposely agds its course away from reason. The Middle Ages took the many numbers present in Holy Scripture and vastly expanded them:.

And this explains why all the chroniclers and historians and priests, in their sermons and pamphlets and books and works have one message and one message only — hkizinga the world depends for its continued wealth and stability on the virtue of the prince, of the noble ruler — ALL of these books without exception start, focus on and end with earnest, heart-felt pleas to the ruler and prince to be Noble and Virtuous and to Rule Well.

Every event, every action, was still embodied in expressive and solemn forms, which raised them to the dignity of a ritual.