A History of Private Life, Volume II, Revelations of the Medieval World: ,

Georges Duby, Editor, Philippe Aries, Editor, Phillippe Aris, Editor Belknap Press $52.5 (688p) ISBN 978-0-674-39976-1
People of the Middle Ages were suspicious of solitude. Feudal dwellings were promiscuously crowded, monastery layouts reflected a fear of isolation. Yet, the idea of privacy, linked to an inner life, stubbornly took root. Intimacy found expression in peasant hearths, in orchards where lovers embraced, in noble households with their areas for retreat, in towers and fortresses that gave ordinary people a refuge from the havoc of war. The private sphere spilled out into the neighborhood. Moving from the anonymous 11th century to the stirrings of Renaissance individualism, this second volume of essays in a projected five-volume opus is a marvelous re-creation of history as it was actually lived, an archeological excavation of daily life few historians have attempted. Hundreds of apt illustrations complement discussions of bedroom design, table manners, discovery of the body, customs. The growing importance of the individual is traced through fables, romances, poems and a new realism in painting. The contributors are French scholars; Duby is a professor at the College de France. History Book Club alternate. (March)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1988
Release date: 03/01/1988
Paperback - 688 pages - 978-0-674-40001-6
Paperback - 656 pages - 978-0-674-40002-3
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