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Grant number like: FA-53921-08

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John Van Engen
University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, IN 46556-4635)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2008 – 6/30/2009

Reason, Reading, and Revolt: The Spirit of 12th-Century Europe

This book treats the decades between about 1050 and 1180. It is a cultural essay on the spirits that drove culture and politics in Europe's "twelfth century." Medieval Europeans contested issues across the spectrum, on God, nature, society, human beings, and customary practice. Lest, as too often, religion get isolated from learning or society from letters, this book lifts out those dynamic forces that cut across social groups. For narrative purposes I have identified these as revolt, reason, reading, and romance. These new energies in turn employed modes of communication that assumed new prominence or took peculiar forms, intellectual and social as well as material, among them letters, glosses, preaching and poetry (Latin and vernacular). The book, though a cultural history, draws upon social sources (law, chronicles, charters), and self-consciously integrates figures often left out of the general story, including women such as Hildegard of Bingen.