As she examines the many misconceptions about the "Middle Ages", the renown French historian, Régine Pernoud, gives the reader a refreshingly original perspective on many subjects, both historical (from the Inquisition and witchcraft trials to a comparison of Gothic and Renaissance creative inspiration) as well as eminently modern (from law and the place of women in society to the importance of history and tradition). Here are fascinating insights, based on Pernoud's sound knowledge and extensive experience as an archivist at the French National Archives. The book will be provocative for the general readers as well as a helpful resource for teachers.
Scorned for centuries, although lauded by the Romantics, these thousand years of history have most often been concealed behind the dark clouds of ignorance: Why, didn't godiche (clumsy, oafish) come from gothique (Gothic)? Doesn't "fuedal" refer to the most hopeless obscurantism? Isn't "Medieval" applied to dust-covered, outmoded things?
Here the old varnish is stripped away and a thousand years of history finally emerge—the "Middle Ages" are dead, long live the Middle Ages!
"Régine Pernoud, in the clear light of her vast knowledge as a historian, thrashes the ignorant, smashing their errors and the generally accepted ideas about the Middle Ages."
—Jean Prasteau, Le Figaro
"Contains rich veins of information for the amateur as well as for the scholar, this book is written in a brisk and sometimes petulant style. A must for students."
—Cornelius Buckley, S.J., Author, When Jesuits Were Giants.