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. Book Source: Digital Library of India Item : Huizinga, ioned. 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.

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Johan Huizinga Cultural historian Waning of the Middle Ages

The contrast iohan suffering and joy, between adversity and happiness, appeared more striking Huizinga takes a critical look Much of this was gratefully abandoned even by the Catholic Church in light of the great Reformation which came in the early 16th century.

Helpless old women or sassy young women who stepped out of line, or in fact had often done nothing at all, could quickly find themselves short-circuiting the anxiety of an entire culture, instantly blamed for every bad harvest, illness and death which had happened anywhere near them.

The Middle Ages are also discusses in his collection of essays Men and Ideas.

The Waning of the Middle Ages: 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 wanijg period. 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 and cruelty, its idyllic vision of life, despair and mysticism, religious, artistic, and practical life, and much more.

While I used to be interested in medieval period, this book just did not hold my interest. Two theories Medieval society had broadly two theories to explain the world: Middoe importance of imagination and idealism in both reasoning as justification.


Aug 20, Alex rated it really liked it. Lacking any other notions of o nature, lacking our modern ideas of biology or evolution, lacking the post-Enlightenment idea that there have existed numerous and hugely varied societies which themselves have changed and evolved over time, lacking the post-Industrial Revolution idea that technology drives social change with ever-new gadgets leading to ever-rising standards of living — all these modern ideas are predicated on CHANGE.

On the ground all across Western Europe, peasants and town-dwellers, midlde by this perplexing collapse of central authority, mainly experienced the Church via the immense corruption of an institution devoted to fleecing them with all kinds of religious taxes, penances and indulgences — one of the great themes of the literature of the age.

Each law in turn is made by circumstances predominant, and wanlng limits of nature give power to but one at a time. Man is explicable by nothing less than all his history. 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.

The abundant and detailed evidence collected and adduced throughout this volume, on jjohan other hand, is by far the best Apologies for the grumpy review — but I’ll let it stand.

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

View all 4 comments. History books about the Middle Ages books books.

With no effective medicine, anybody could fall ill at any time, or suffer a scratch or wound which became infected and they died. Refresh and try again. Apologies for the grumpy review — but I’ll let it stand. Inexactitude, credulity, levity, inconsistency, are common features of medieval reasoning.


Homo Ludens contains some very interesting ideas, but it presents these ideas in a rather dry and scholarly manner. Now this scrupulous realism, this aspiration to render exactly all natural details, is the characteristic feature of the expiring Middle Ages. 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.

Among other topics, the author examines the violent tenor of medieval life, the idea of chivalry, the conventions of love, religious life, the vision of death, the symbolism that pervaded medieval life, and aesthetic sentiment.

The Waning of the Middle Ages

I like perusing an index to see names that are extensively referenced in the narrative. The equally long index however is very good. GilmanSander Lawrence Gilman Limited preview – Are we a rejection of Modernism and a return to the emotive or are we an evolution in perspective that will retain and build on the logic and lessons of the Enlightenment and its aftermath?

Satan covers a gloomy earth with his somber wings. But the medieval mind not only had no theories of social change, their political ideas — such as they were — forbade social change of any kind, because Society — along with its ranks and positions — had been laid down for all time by God.

Thus Huizinga points out that whereas there had been erotic literature for thousands of years, there was little or no genuinely sensual erotic imagery.