Edited by Thomas F. X. Noble and John Van Engen
The “long twelfth century”—1050 to 1215—embraces one of the transformative moments in European history: the point, for some, at which Europe first truly became “Europe.” Historians have used the terms “renaissance,” “reformation,” and “revolution” to account for the dynamism of intellectual, religious, and structural renewal manifest across schools, monasteries, courts, and churches. Complicating the story, more recent historical work has highlighted manifestations of social crisis and oppression. In European Transformations: The Long Twelfth Century, nineteen accomplished medievalists examine this pivotal era under the rubric of “transformation”: a time of epoch-making change both good and ill, a release of social and cultural energies that proved innovative and yet continuous with the past.
Their collective reappraisal, although acknowledging insights gained from over a century of scholarship, fruitfully adjusts the questions and alters the accents. In addition to covering such standard regions as England and France, and such standard topics as feudalism and investiture, the contributors also address Scandinavia, Iberia, and Eastern Europe, women’s roles in medieval society, Jewish and Muslim communities, law and politics, and the complexities of urban and rural situations. With their diverse and challenging contributions, the authors offer a new point of departure for students and scholars attempting to grasp the dynamic puzzle of twelfth-century Europe.
Contributors: Anna Sapir Abulafia, Sverre Bagge, Dominique Barthélemy, Brigitte Miriam Bedos-Rezak, Olivia Remie Constable, Paul Freedman, Rachel Fulton, John Gillingham, Piotr Górecki, C. Stephen Jaeger, Adam J. Kosto, John Marenbon, Maureen C. Miller, Barbara Newman, David Nicholas, Thomas F. X. Noble, Hanna Vollrath, John Van Engen, Anders Winroth.
“In European Transformations: The Long Twelfth Century, Thomas F. X. Noble and John Van Engen have assembled an impressive array of distinguished medievalists to explore geographical regions and a variety of themes to expose the best current thinking about what was and what was not distinctive about the twelfth century. Their collective efforts will be much cited for the innovative and well-argued contributions in this volume.” — Paul Hyams, Cornell University
“The long twelfth century whose many transformations are explored in this energetic volume is no longer exclusively that of the lettered and devotional elites that dominate and define most previous accounts of the period. Its subject is a geographically larger and vastly more diversified Europe, a Europe that developed a far greater number of distinctive institutional features and forms of communication than earlier surveys have usually allowed for. Learning, letters, and devotion are certainly here, but they are situated in a dense world of princely courts and cities, competing social orders and interests, men and (at last!) women, and a sharper and harsher recognition of the non-Christian, in which the past and custom confront a sharp and legal-minded present, not always in conflict. The twelfth century, both short and long, has merited and occasioned great scholarship. This audacious volume easily takes pride of place within it.” — Edward Peters, University of Pennsylvania
“For many years now, historians have regarded the twelfth century in Europe as a watershed period of great revolutions in philosophy, theology, law, and the political landscape. . . . The essayists, from a variety of disciplines and universities, are preeminent authorities of the topics and the times. They discuss historians, Christian relations with Muslims and Jews, the changing nature of serfdom, and other topics that span the intellectual and social history of the period, and they cover all of Europe, from Scandinavia through England to Spain and back into Eastern Europe.” — Catholic Library World
“Noble and Van Engen have assembled a remarkably distinguished team of contributors and the quality of the eighteen chapters is uniformly high. Almost all should be at or pretty near the top of any introductory reading list on their topics, as well as providing succinct and stimulating updates for those already in the game, who will also find the exhaustive notes an invaluable bibliographical resource.” — The Medieval Review
“This volume of essays contributes much to the discussion about the twelfth century, revealing the complexity and diversity of the period. . . . Graduate students and professors alike will learn much from the essays, and the volume should find its way onto many bookshelves.” — Comitatus
“. . . A great majority of mediaevalists will undoubtedly profit much from these studies.” — Mediaevistik