Our common image of the Middle Ages, constructed partly from popular accounts by Tuchman and Huizinga, is a period in European history when cultural activity was in decay. Van Oostrom convincingly challenges this notion by presenting evidence of a lively medieval court culture in the northern Netherlands. Not only is this a new chapter in Dutch literary and cultural history, it also provides a new perspective on the larger court culture of medieval Europe.
Van Oostrom interweaves dynastic history, documentary evidence, art, architecture, and literature in his analysis of the medieval Dutch court. In expanding our knowledge of the period, this exemplary work confronts fundamental questions of how cultures shape themselves and how we can effectively reconstruct and define the past.
Frits Pieter van Oostrom is Professor of Literature at the Rijksuniversiteit, Leiden. Court and Culture received the prestigious Wijnaendts Francken-prijs in 1988. Arnold J. Pomerans lives in England and is the translator of The Diary of Anne Frank: The Critical Edition, among other works.
"While being compared favorably to Johan Huizinga's Waning of the Middle Ages, this is in fact a livelier, more convincing analysis of the late fourteenth century."—Johan P. Snapper, University of California, Berkeley