JOHAN HUIZINGA THE WANING OF THE MIDDLE AGES PDF

Huizinga plaque at Leiden University Born in Groningen as the son of Dirk Huizinga, a professor of physiology , and Jacoba Tonkens, who died two years after his birth, [1] he started out as a student of Indo-European languages , earning his degree in He then studied comparative linguistics , gaining a good command of Sanskrit. He wrote his doctoral thesis on the role of the jester in Indian drama in It was not until that his interest turned towards medieval and Renaissance history. He was held in detention by the Nazis between August and October Upon his release, he was banned from returning to Leiden.

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A brief biography of Cultural historian Johan Huizinga Johan Huizinga, who was later to become famous for his studies concerning the Waning of the Middle Ages, was born in Groningen in He was educated there and in Leipzig, Germany.

His initial academic training was as a linguist - he studied Dutch language and literature in Groningen from until when he wrote his doctoral dissertation under the supervision of the classical scholar J.

Huizinga shifted his interest towards historical studies however, with a particular emphasis on studies as a Cultural historian in line with the school established by Jacob Burckhardt. After teaching in Haarlem and Amsterdam, he became professor of history at the University of Groningen in and at the Leiden University in His most famous work is The Waning of the Middle Ages , published in trans. This work, which is celebrated for its excellent literary quality and historical penetration, focuses on the 14th and 15th centuries in France and the Low Countries as exemplifying the last phase of the Middle Ages and discusses many aspects of medieval life: philosophy, literature, painting, chivalry, love, etc.

Huizinga describes how medieval piety often found expression in rituals and external forms. The Middle Ages are also discusses in his collection of essays Men and Ideas. One of these called, "The Task of Cultural History," argues that history should resurrect the past, and should give the reader a sense of what it was like to be alive during a particular period.

Huizinga deplores the modern tendency to write romanticized history and romanticized biography, to try to make history entertaining and amusing holding that "No literary effect in the world can compare to the pure, sober taste of history.

Much of this book is written not for the general reader, but for fellow Dutchmen and contemporaries. In an essay called, "The Aesthetic Element in Historical Thought," Huizinga declares that he has "faith in the importance of the aesthetic element in historical thinking," and that he opposes the idea that history should attempt to be scientific. The true study of history involves our imagination and conjures up conceptions, pictures, visions.

It discusses the problems besetting the West, from moral anarchy to artistic decadence. It is, however, an interesting, brief and readable book, it argues that that modern education and the mass media both have harmful effects on culture: "Our time [is] faced by the discouraging fact that two highly vaunted achievements of civilization, universal education and modern publicity, instead of raising the level of culture, appear ultimately to produce certain symptoms of cultural devitalisation and degeneration.

Literature and painting are held to have become increasingly unintelligible - poetry is represented as having maintained throughout history "a certain connection with rational expression It is not until the closing years of the [nineteenth] century that one sees poetry purposely steering its course away from reason. They consider American history before , and they also look at modern society in general, including newspapers, movies and literature.

Special attention is paid to the economic forces that have shaped American history. Finally, when his life was drawing to a close, and he was a prisoner of the Nazis, he collected his thoughts on this subject into a book called Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture.

Homo Ludens contains some very interesting ideas, but it presents these ideas in a rather dry and scholarly manner. He argues that play is one of fundamental facts of human life, and is at the root of poetry, music, philosophy - even jurisprudence and war. Anyone interested in plumbing the depths of human nature, anyone interested in the question of why people fight wars, create culture, etc.

Huizinga is discussing more than play, he is discussing human nature, the fundamental drives within human nature - "The spirit of playful competition is, as a social impulse, older than culture itself and pervades all life like a veritable ferment.

Ritual grew up in sacred play; poetry was born in play and nourished on play; music and dancing were pure play We have to conclude, therefore, that civilization is, in its earliest phases, played.

It does not come from play From until his death in Johan Huizinga was held in detention by the Nazis.

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The Waning Of The Middle Ages

We, at the present day, can hardly understand the keenness with which a fur coat, a good fire on the hearth, a soft bed, a glass of wine, were formerly enjoyed. The historians he discusses here Huizinga, Eileen Edna Power, Michael Postan, Carl Erdmann, Theodor Mommsen are not We, at the present day, can hardly understand the keenness with which a fur coat, a good fire on the hearth, a soft bed, a glass of wine, were formerly enjoyed. Cantor nevertheless has plenty of good things to say about Huizinga and the others. He writes that Huizinga had no successors, and the approach he adopted has found no significant imitators. In the short autobiography that he composed in the last decade of his life, he tells of writing Waning when he was told that his academic job was in jeopardy if he could not come up with a significant publishable book. Huizinga writes in his brief preface to the English edition, History has always been far more engrossed by problems of origins than by those of decline and fall… in medieval history we have been searching so diligently for the origins of modern culture, that at times it would seem as though what we call the Middle Ages had been little more than the prelude to the Renaissance.

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The Waning of the Middle Ages

A brief biography of Cultural historian Johan Huizinga Johan Huizinga, who was later to become famous for his studies concerning the Waning of the Middle Ages, was born in Groningen in He was educated there and in Leipzig, Germany. His initial academic training was as a linguist - he studied Dutch language and literature in Groningen from until when he wrote his doctoral dissertation under the supervision of the classical scholar J. Huizinga shifted his interest towards historical studies however, with a particular emphasis on studies as a Cultural historian in line with the school established by Jacob Burckhardt. After teaching in Haarlem and Amsterdam, he became professor of history at the University of Groningen in and at the Leiden University in His most famous work is The Waning of the Middle Ages , published in trans. This work, which is celebrated for its excellent literary quality and historical penetration, focuses on the 14th and 15th centuries in France and the Low Countries as exemplifying the last phase of the Middle Ages and discusses many aspects of medieval life: philosophy, literature, painting, chivalry, love, etc.

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