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.