Historical Anthropology of the Middle Ages
University of Chicago Press, 1992 - History - 247 pages
Aaron Gurevich has long been considered one of the world's leading medievalists and a pioneer in the field of historical anthropology. This book brings together eleven of his most important essays—many difficult to find and some never before available in English.
Gurevich's writing, while informed by the history of mentalities as practiced by the French school of Le Goff and Duby, reflects a broader view of European culture outside France. He rejects reductionist concepts and operates with a total view of culture, using a wide range of sources—legal as well as ecclesiastical, popular as well as learned, oral and visual as well as literary.
This collection amply demonstrates this breadth of Gurevich's work and highlights his ability to synthesize historical, anthropological, and semiotic approaches to culture. Especially valuable are pieces such as Gurevich's essay Wealth and Gift-Bestowal Among the Ancient Scandinavians, about the importance of gift exchange in the medieval world. One of the first studies for this practice, this classic essay has for years been unavailable. Other pieces range from the deities and heroes of Germanic poetry to the image of the Beyond in the Middle Ages.
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