Nouvelle acquisition : The later Middle Ages
Of all the sub-periods in which European medieval history has been divided over time, the later middle ages is possibly the one on which the burden of past and current grand narratives weighs the most. Its chronological and geopolitical boundaries are shaped by a heavy narrative of decline or transition, and consequently this period is often interpreted through the lenses of previous or following developments, becoming in turn the tail-end of the ‘feudal’, ‘communal’, ‘imperial versus papal’ era or the announcement of modernity. The Later Middle Ages addresses the urgent need to revise and rewrite the story of this period, forging new critical and technical vocabularies. By adopting a conscious approach towards temporal and spatial variety, and by breaking the traditional and unitary narrative of decline and transition into one of many changes and continuities, it charts the principal developments of late medieval Europe while opening up to different political cultures and societies. (4e de couv.)
Isabella Lazzaini is Professor od Medieval History at the University of Molise, Italy.