In his review of three new books* on the Middle Ages, Eric Christiansen challenges the popular belief that the Middle Ages were dark. He claims that it is an unfair characterization of the Medieval period, “because it has been found again and again that our skills, laws, liberties, nations, and languages are the result of hard work in the millennium reputed dark, unlit by reason, and recessive from the sunshine of the classical civilizations, when perfectly formed philosophers sat debating in public colonnades, monk-free.” But, of course, not all was sunshine and roses!
Read Christiansen’s review here:
Two Cheers for the Middle Ages! by Eric Christiansen | The New York Review of Books.
Musée Condé, Chantilly, France/Bridgeman Images
A country household in winter representing the month of February in the duke of Berry’s Book of Hours, by the Limbourg brothers, circa 1412–1416
* The Middle Ages by Johannes Fried; 1381: The Year of the Peasants’ Revolt by Juliet Barker; and Dark Mirror: The Medieval Origins of Anti-Jewish Iconography by Sara Lipton
I agree with the historian Bruce Chadwick’s plea against the censoring of movies and other art forms because of their portrayals of history are objectionable, but I wouldn’t call it “the censoring of history.” These works of art were not meant to be accurate portrayals of history but creative interpretations of historical events meant to entertain or provoke. And how this “takes us back to the Dark Ages” is unclear. Nevertheless, Chadwick makes a good case against censorship of all forms of art. Read his entire article at:
History News Network | The Censoring of History and Politics Takes Us Back to the Dark Ages.