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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Everything had to be nailed down with a meaning and a place in what was aspiring to be the Total System. Next Post People Power: Without hurry, without rest, the human spirit goes forth from the beginning to embody every faculty, every thought, every emotion, which belongs to it in appropriate events.

The tide is turning, the tone of life is about to change.

The Waning of the Middle Ages

Long after the Middle Ages the collections of princes contained works of art mixed up indiscriminately with knick-knacks made of shells and of hair, wax statues of celebrated dwarfs … Time the destroyer has made it easy for us to separate pure art from all these geegaws wwning bizarre trappings … This separation … did not exist for the men of that time.

Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. This leads to history that carries a strong bias and is of dubious usefulness. Thanks for telling us about the problem. A brilliantly creative work that established the reputation of Dutch historian John Huizingathe book argues that the era of diminishing chivalry saning the spirit of an age and that its figures and events were neither a prelude to the Renaissance nor harbingers wainng a coming culture, but a consummation of the old.

Decadent, nostalgic and beautiful. That same year his critical biography of the great humanist Erasmus appeared, in English as well as in Dutch.

Michelangelo credits the technical achievement of the northerners but then criticises them for having too much petty detail and not enough of the grand sculptural simplicity which he, of course, achieved so spectacularly.


But, as part oof the intricate interlacing of ideas so typical of the late medieval mind, the court, in exchange for these obvious material benefits, had to be paragons of nobility and display for everyone the courtly virtues of dignity, charity, kindliness, forbearance and so on. With no effective medicine, anybody could fall ill at any time, or suffer a scratch or wound which became infected and they died.

This trio are often credited with introducing a new more realistic and sensual style into painting in the first half of the fifteenth century.

The translators have added end middpe to explain the more obscure cultural references, but they are END notes, so of little use during the reading. Opvallend is dat het vooral geconcentreerd is op het Bourgondisch hof en dan gebruikt Huizinga met name kroniekschrijvers uit die regio. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. He treats different areas and periods with equal ease: 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 a try.

Views Read Edit View history. History books about the Middle Od books books. However, one wonders if he manages more profound insights than more cautious and rigorous historians would achieve. His erudition is great enough that he is allowed to have some sweeping opinions. In a typically illuminating aside, Huizinga points out how the worlds of chivalry and theology overlapped in the figure of the archangel Michael, who is generally portrayed in armour, wielding a sword against the rebel angels.

The Waning Of The Middle Ages

The Middle Ages are also discusses in his collection of essays Men and Ideas. Satan covers a gloomy earth with his somber wings. 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.

As the Middle Ages — say from to — proceeded, the depiction and understanding of these virtues as of so much else in medieval thought became more and more elaborate, defined in courtly protocols and etiquette which were enhanced and added to by each generation of writers until there were written rules prescribing every possible type of behaviour and clothing and speech which should be used on almost every conceivable occasion.


The abundant and detailed evidence collected and adduced throughout this volume, on the other hand, is by far agees best Apologies for the grumpy review — but I’ll let it stand. Instead the focus is very much on the kingdoms of France and especially the Duchy of Burgundy, and mostly during the 15th century.

These were in reality a series of conflicts between dynastic nobles scattered between and We can still sense — years later — the excitement of innovation and experimentation in their paintings. Being retired, I read for my own pleasure and not for research purposes.

The Waning of the Middle Ages

The language requires savoring as well as the time to digest complex thoughts. But for Huizinga what is entertaining is the vast gap between the theory of Christianity as pursued into endlessly remote corners of mental complexity — and the reality of a Church which was in a parlous state.

In he achieved international renown with Herfsttij der Middeleeuwenin which he presented a dazzling panorama of the cultural history of France and the Middel in the age of the Dukes of Burgundy.

In many of Huizinga’s works, he discusses the play element in culture. To ask other readers questions about The Waning of the Middle Agesplease sign up. For Michelangelo all this has to be swept aside to make way for enormous, grand, simplified and epic gestures. Some of the status comments appear elsewhere in the review.