Historiography

Neomedievalism in historiography means an academic effort aiming at de-mistifying this historical period.

Some American historiographers re-examined Middle Ages in the 1990s to find out that our current, both popular and academic understanding of the Middle Ages is false. A twisted image of medieval times was branded by the culture of the Enlightenment, strongly opposing the Middle Ages.

Of particular interest is an essay “The New Medievalism: Tradition and Discontinuity in Medieval Culture” by S. G. Nichols, who claimed the Enlightenment reserved positive connotations (progress, dynamics) for itself, while downplaying the past (ignorance, stagnation). But in fact, Nichols claims, the Middle Ages was an epoch of constant cultural actualisation and progress, and of awareness of insolvability and changeability – so it was abundant in phenomena which kept capturing the attention of postmodern philosophers such as Zbigniew Bauman or Jacques Derrida.

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