07 September, 2013
Leet reviews D. Barthélemy, The Serf, the Knight, and the Historian
Elizabeth S. Leet reviews: Barthélemy, Dominique. The Serf, the Knight, and the Historian. Trans. Graham Robert Edwards. Cornell, NY: Cornell University Press, 2009, for Medievally Speaking:
In the ten years after the original publication of Mutation de l’an mil, a-t-elle eu lieu? (Fayard, 1997), the combative argumentation and vehement assertions that characterize Dominique Barthélemy’s monograph continue to echo throughout medieval scholarship surrounding the social, political, and military climates of the post-Carolingian period. By opposing the “reductionist and unbalanced” caricatures of both feudal society and, in particular, the so-called pivotal shifts between 930 and 1070 after which feudal society came into being, Barthélemy revisits the evidence that leads others to false conclusions. By dissecting texts and their respective contexts, he demonstrates the more complete understanding we may gain by reconsidering the evidence without anticipating the monolithic conclusions scholars have sometimes drawn. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE.