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waning of the middle ages: a study of the forms of life, thought and art in France and the Netherlands in the XIVth and XVth centuries

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By: (1872-1945)

"Waning of the Middle Ages" by Johan Huizinga is a fascinating and insightful look into the cultural, intellectual, and artistic landscape of France and the Netherlands during the 14th and 15th centuries. Huizinga meticulously examines the shifting values, beliefs, and social structures of the Late Middle Ages, painting a vivid portrait of a world on the brink of profound change.

One of the book's strengths is its interdisciplinary approach, weaving together elements of art history, philosophy, and literature to provide a comprehensive understanding of the period. Huizinga's writing is both erudite and engaging, making complex ideas accessible to the general reader.

Additionally, the book's focus on the cultural and artistic achievements of the time is particularly compelling. Huizinga's analysis of the symbolic language of medieval art and literature sheds light on the mindset of the people of the era, offering valuable insights into their worldview and values.

Overall, "Waning of the Middle Ages" is a thought-provoking and illuminating exploration of a pivotal period in European history. Huizinga's scholarship and insight make this book a must-read for anyone interested in the complexities of late medieval society.

Book Description:
The Waning of the Middle Ages , subtitled A study of the forms of life, thought and art in France and the Netherlands in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, is Johan Huizinga's most famous work. It was published in 1919 as Herfsttij der Middeleeuwen and first translated into English in 1924.

Huizinga defends the idea that the exaggerated formality and romanticism of late medieval court society was a defense mechanism against the constantly increasing violence and brutality of life. The break off between Middle Ages and Renaissance was, according to him, a period of pessimism, cultural exhaustion, and nostalgia. Even though this work has found criticism, especially for relying too heavily on evidence exclusively from the Burgundian court, it has achieved immense impact in the thought about the period. - Summary by Leni

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