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Illuminating the Middle Ages

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Illuminating the Middle Ages

Historically, our understanding of the Middle Ages has tended to be coloured by the ‘Dark Age’ label, which casts this as a time of cultural famine and stagnation in contrast to the Renaissance and our Classical heritage. Yet medievalists insist the era has a wealth of thought, art and culture to rival that of any period in history, to such an extent that scholars now talk of the Carolingian, Ottoman and twelfth-century renaissances, emphasising the richness of an era once considered barren. Speakers include Dr Elizabeth Boyle, research fellow, St Edmund’s College, University of Cambridge; Albert Fenton, graduate, Anglo-Saxon, Norse, Celtic at Cambridge; Lindsay Johns, writer, broadcaster and cultural commentator, Daily Mail online; Dr Levi Roach, lecturer of Medieval History, University of Exeter.

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Related topics: Debates, History

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antoni orgill said:

Interesting. Dante believed that “love was the animating principle of the universe” which is nice to know. Some scholars have tended to the idea that revenge was the animus of the Comedy. Being moved in spirit to fulfill his destiny (union with Beatrice) yet cast beyond the pale into a world of shades and eternal pain the human-centred narrative occurs within a furtive fate whereby the sin is turned back upon the sinner (revenge) and his blithe being is constantly tested by the experience of witnessing grotesque suffering and perverse perditions. Dante seems a Renaissance version of the contemporary liberal-minded dude, a man who was forced to confront agony and depravity in order to finally get his girl.

As a writer struggling to atone for many sins against Christian morality (sometimes) and essaying to schematise a secular version of the Divine Comedy (in some vague future) i wonder whether hip-hop reached its apogee with DJ Shadow and is, now, essentially a bit tedious?

It’s cold in hell, though. Whatever the time of year.