ABC-CLIO

Icons of the Middle Ages

Rulers, Writers, Rebels, and Saints

by Lister M. Matheson, Editor

Print Flyer

December 2011

Greenwood

Pages 705
Volumes 2
Size 7x10
Topics World History/Politics and Government
Description

From Thomas Becket to Charlemagne, from Leif Erickson to Count Dracula, this series of biographical essays separates truth from legend as it explores the lives of some of the most accomplished and influential figures of medieval history.

Drawing on the latest research, Icons of the Middle Ages: Rulers, Writers, Rebels, and Saints examines the lives of some of the most remarkable personalities of the Medieval Era—powerful, ruthless, compassionate, brilliant people who remain widely influential today.

Each portrait in this extraordinary gallery sets its subject in the context of their world, revealing what we really know about their lives, their iconic status in their own times, and their lasting legacies in our time. Readers will encounter fascinating individuals devoted to the pursuit of power (Richard III), to freedom (Robert the Bruce), to philosophy and religion (Maimonides; Thomas More), and to the arts (Dante; Hildegard of Bingen). Additional chapters explore life in the medieval castle and the advent of siege warfare—two defining developments in the Middle Ages.

Features

  • Contributions from 18 accomplished scholars and writers bring their fascinating medieval era subjects to life in 20 entries—18 biographical and 2 topical entries
  • Bibliographical references and "Suggestions for Further Reading" for each chapter

Highlights

  • Presents in lively fashion the fascinating careers of major medieval figures whose influence extends to the present day
  • Separates fact from fiction as it reveals what we really know about the real people and legendary characters
  • Demonstrates how the long-ago past continues to influence the present in many popular cultural spheres
Author Info

Lister M. Matheson, PhD, is professor of medieval studies in the Department of English at Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. He is the author of The Prose Brut: The Development of a Middle English Chronicle; editor of Death and Dissent: Two Fifteenth Century Chronicles; and general editor of Popular and Practical Science of Medieval England. Matheson has also worked as an editor on The Oxford English Dictionary and The Middle English Dictionary. He has been an International Fellow at The Queen's University Belfast and an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow.

Reviews/Endorsements

Reviews

"This work will be useful to beginning medieval scholars as it is a good place for initial research on prominent figures of the period. A welcome addition to secondary libraries needing to update their history sections or medieval studies collections."—Library Journal

"Overall, the essays are well-written and accessible, providing a solid overview of each icon’s life and legacy, both historical and modern. Students will find them to be a useful starting point for research in this area. Recommended for academic and large high school and public libraries."—Booklist

"Icons of the Middle Ages is a selective, if unconventional, reference focusing on 21 'larger-than-life medieval men and women.' Editor Matheson (Michigan State) heads an impressive list of contributors who focus on the 'iconic quality' (person as cultural phenomenon) of a variety of well-known medieval figures . . . Easy-to-read entries provide abundant biographical context and consider individuals' 'lasting significance' all the way through to their influence on contemporary pop culture. Entries are all-encompassing and, as necessary, feature well-placed time lines, fact boxes, and quotations."—Choice

Series Description

Greenwood Icons


Worshipped and cursed. Loved and loathed. Hated and obsessed about the world over. What does it take to become an icon? Regardless of subject, culture, or era, the requisite qualifications are the same: 1. Challenge the status quo, 2. Influence millions, and 3. Impact history. (A little fanfare never hurt either). Greenwood Press introduces a new reference format and approach to popular culture. Spanning a wide range of subjects, works in the Greenwood Icons product line provide students and general readers a port of entry into the most fascinating and influential topics of the day. Every title in the series offers an in-depth look at 25 iconic figures, each embodying a group of values and reflecting the essence of a particular culture. Whether people, places, or things, such icons serve as a bridge between the past and the present, the canonical and the contemporary. By focusing on icons central to popular culture, these works encourage students to compare and contrast different periods and traditions, appreciate cultural diversity, and critically analyze issues of enduring significance. The series also provides fresh insights for the student and popular reader into the power and influence of icons, a topic of as vital interest today as in any previous era. Series Features:
    Detailed entries provide far more information than conventional reference articles but are less intimidating and more accessible than a book-length biography
    Brings subjects to life through illustrations, sidebars, timelines, fact boxes, quotations, and photograph
    Entries illuminate related iconic figures and influences0151often from other historical periods and cultures0151for comparative consideration
    Helps students and general readers explore culture in a lively and engaging way BLServes as a unique resource for students of American history and culture

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