This book is aimed at students and general readers coming to the study of medieval history for the first time, as well as at those with a background in other branches of medieval studies who are interested in finding out a little about historians’ aims and perspectives. This is not a brief history of what happened in the Middle Ages or of the development of the medieval historical profession. Nor is the book intended to be a contribution to the currently fashionable debates about the nature of history and history-writing (although the present author’s own position on some of these debates will be implicit in parts of the discussion). Rather, the book aims to set the scene for the study of medieval history by placing it in a wider context as a cultural phenomenon, a collection of inherited labels, a scholarly methodology, and, like all academic subjects, something that needs to justify itself in what we are increasingly encouraged to regard as the educational ‘market place’.
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