Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Armarium Magnum Wish List - Part I

In between reviews I will be periodically posting notices of books that I (i) am reading and intend to review in the future, (ii) have bought or have my eye on and will possibly review or (iii) simply sound good and may buy in the future. This periodic "Wish List" may or may not reflect what books actually do get reviewed, but should act as a heads up regarding interesting books that are out there.

As I've mentioned already, I'm in the process of completing Chris Wickham's The Inheritance of Rome: Illuminating the Dark Ages, 400-1000 and will be reviewing it soon. This book encompasses far more than a history of post-Roman Europe and has detailed chapters on the Byzantine, Ummayad and 'Abbasid worlds well beyond Europe, which serve as a useful contrast to what was happening in Europe in the same periods. And sitting on my "to read next" shelf is Charles Freeman's The Closing of the Western Mind: The Rise of Faith and the Fall of Reason, which has been well-received in some quarters though is not highly regarded by historians of the Middle Ages, who feel Freeman is perpetuating some hoary myths. I'll reserve judgement until my upcoming review.

But high on my wish list at the moment is Misconceptions about the Middle Ages (Routledge Studies in Medieval Religion and Culture) edited by Stephen Harris and Bryon L. Grigsby. This collection of articles began life as a discussion between Medievalists on an online listserv about common misconceptions students have about the medieval period and developed into a series of articles hosted on the ORB online medieval resouce site. Routledge has now published the whole collection as a weighty tome. At $125, it's also a fairly expensive one, but I will be ordering a copy soon and posting a review. In the meantime, you can get a taste of the contents from this summary and table of contents from, which includes links to the book's introduction and an interview with the editors.


Anonymous said...

I'm very glad they've put it in print, but at $125 I think they're completely mad to think students will buy it!

Tim O'Neill said...

It's pretty steep, though hopefully when a paperback edition comes out it will be more accessible to students. I gather it was published more as a teaching resource for lecturers, but it's hard to see how they can justify a price like that for a 250 page book.

I'm still buying it though ...