Ever since I reviewed the fantastic exposé of modern ways of presenting “the Middle Ages”, Those Terrible Middle Ages: Debunking the Myths by French historian and archivist Regine Pernoud, I have wished for more. Where could I find a history of this most glorious era of human civilization that got it right, from the beginning? Well, of course–Miss Pernoud wrote it–and I recently got my ex-library copy from somewhere in (Once-Merrie, now Ultra-Post-Modern) England.
The title, “The Glory of the Medieval World” is like a trumpet blast warming you up for a very cheerful concerto. (Why, yes, I DO love Baroque music!) In only thirteen chapters, Miss Pernoud gives an examination of everything pertaining to human life in France during the Age of Faith. It is positive, it is fascinating, and it is thoroughly enjoyable. Alas, this book is out of print, but well worth the inter-library loan or the purchase (particularly if you have children whom you will educate through high school!).
Two more quotes, as a sample:
On medieval society:
In order to reach a proper understanding of medieval society it is necessary to study its domestic organization, for therein lies the key to the whole age, and there too its salient characteristic is to be seen. Each relationship conformed to the pattern of family life, that of the lord and his vassal no less than that of the master and his apprentice.
The Glory of the Medieval World, p. 12
On social classes:
In reality, relation between the so-called ruling classes–in this case the nobility–and the people, had never been closer; relations facilitated by the conception of the personal link which was an essential feature of medieval society, and strengthened by local ceremonies and religious and other feasts, during which the seigneur met his tenant, learned to know him and shared his existence much more intimately than, in our own time, the middle classes share the lives of their servants.
The Glory of the Medieval World, pp. 54-5
Miss Pernoud in this book covers the warp and woof of the medieval world: the kings and nobility, life in the country, life in the city, the Church, literature and learning, international relations, and…just everything, in a broad overview from the perspective of post-Carolingian France. You’ll learn so much in this book, but especially how to think about the Age of Faith and its several “components.”
Because Modern and Post-Modern history is written through the lenses of Protestant– Post-“Enlightenment”–Communist/Socialist–and other anti-Catholic lenses, just about NOBODY today is able to give a fair or balanced look at this comprehensively Catholic age of human history. (Yes, comprehensively Catholic–and that’s why they hate it, constantly slandering and lying about it.) Yet it is crucial for faithful Catholics to know what the world looks like when it belongs to God through and through, in work and in play, from high places to humble places, in every sphere of human activity.
And so nobody ever mentions that because everything in this era was given to God, He gave to these times great joy. You deserve to know this and all of the truths about the history of the glorious Age of Faith–don’t ever, ever, settle for anything less. In quest of this, Miss Pernoud’s books are a wonderful resource you will be glad to have read!