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The Mirror of the Medieval
An Anthropology of the Western Historical Imagination. Making Sense of History 29
Since its invention by Renaissance humanists, the myth of the "Middle Ages" has held a uniquely important place in the Western historical imagination. Whether envisioned as an era of lost simplicity or a barbaric nightmare, the medieval past has always served as a mirror for modernity. This book gives an eye-opening account of the ways various political and intellectual projects-from nationalism to the discipline of anthropology-have appropriated the Middle Ages for their own ends. Deploying an interdisciplinary toolkit, author K. Patrick Fazioli grounds his analysis in contemporary struggles over power and identity in the Eastern Alps, while also considering the broader implications for scholarly research and public memory.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
"Instead of yet another book about the use and misuse of archaeology or medievalism for political purposes, The Mirror of the Medieval takes the far more difficult path of asking why the Middle Ages are so easily hijacked and misunderstood, approaching the subject from the perspective of anthropology. This is an ambitious, highly original, and persuasive book that belongs on the shelf of any anthropologist, historian, or individual interested in the Middle Ages." * Florin Curta, University of Florida
"Fazioli clearly and comprehensively deals with the interactions of the past, historical research, and the popular imagination. He fluently combines the methods of history, anthropology, and archaeology in a way that is relevant for all three fields as well as the general public." * Sebastian Brather, Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg