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Language and Power in the Early Middle Ages
Patrick J. Geary

The Menahem Stern Jerusalem Lectures

2013 • 136 pp. 5 1/2 x 8 1/2"
Medieval History /

$24.95 Paperback, 978-1-61168-391-2
$23.99 Ebook, 978-1-61168-392-9

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

Language and ideology in the scholarship of the late Middle Ages

The eminent historian Patrick J. Geary has written a provocative book, based on lectures delivered at the Historical Society of Israel about the role of language and ideology in the study and history of the early Middle Ages. He includes a fascinating discussion of the rush by nationalist philologists to rediscover the medieval roots of their respective vernaculars, the rivalry between vernacular languages and Latin to act as transmitters of Christian sacred texts and administrative documents, and the rather sloppy and ad hoc emergence in different places of the vernacular as the local administrative idiom. This is a fascinating look at the weakness of language as a force for unity: ideology, church authority, and emerging secular power always trumped language.

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Reviews / Endorsements

“Patrick Geary’s Language and Power in the Early Middle Ages is a wise book—as humane as it is deeply and elegantly learned. He shows how Europeans of modern times allowed themselves to be haunted by the ghosts of a very distant age—by the imagined ancestors (in the dark centuries that followed the fall of Rome) of the national languages of their own day. He shows that the story of the linguistic development of Europe needs to be re-written. What we have here is a brand new narrative, all the more exciting for being unexpected, of how Europe became Europe.”—Peter Brown, professor emeritus of history, Princeton University

PATRICK J. GEARY is the Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Medieval History at UCLA and currently professor of medieval history at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, N.J.

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 12:11:49 -0500