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Beatrice's Last Smile

A New History of the Middle Ages

Mark Gregory Pegg

$61.95

Hardback

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English
Oxford University Press
03 November 2023
Beatrice's Last Smile is a sweeping narrative history of the medieval west from the beginning of the third century to the beginning of the sixteenth. This book focuses on slow formation of Latin Christendom over a millennium in the aftermath of the disintegration of the western Roman Empire.

Beatrice's Last Smile is a sweeping narrative history of the medieval west from the beginning of the third century to the beginning of the sixteenth. The reader travels from the Mediterranean to the North Sea, from the Nile to the Volga, from north Africa to the central Asia, until finally ending in the Americas. Through a focus on slow formation of Latin Christendom over a millennium in the aftermath of the disintegration of the western Roman Empire, Beatrice's Last Smile is a history of holiness which includes Judaism and the revelations of Muhammad.

The narrative moves from the violence within fifth-century Britain and Gaul to the Hundred Years War between England and France, from the plague of the sixth century to the Black Death of the fourteenth, from the first crusaders sacking Jerusalem to the Spanish capturing Tenochtitlán, from Viking raids to Mongol invasions, from the inquisitons into heresy to the trials of witches, from a third-century Christian mother dying in a Roman arena to the immolation of Joan of Arc in the fifteenth, from an ancient universe without heaven and hell to a medieval cosmos with a fiery inferno and a shimmering paradise. Over these centuries there is an emphasis on individual men and women and their stories woven together with the story of the emergence of a distinctive western culture.

By:  
Imprint:   Oxford University Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 240mm,  Width: 165mm,  Spine: 45mm
Weight:   820g
ISBN:   9780199641574
ISBN 10:   0199641579
Pages:   512
Publication Date:  
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Mark Gregory Pegg is a Professor of Medieval History at Washington University in St. Louis. He is the author of A Most Holy War: The Albigensian Crusade and the Battle for Christendom and The Corruption of Angels: The Great Inquisition of 1245-1246.

Reviews for Beatrice's Last Smile: A New History of the Middle Ages

Beatrices Last Smile is undeniably well-researched. Pegg includes often marginalised groups, such as women and Jews, and the chapters on the later Middle Ages from the Albigensian Crusade to the Black Death are a particular highlight * Helen Carr, The Spectator * A fast-paced, cinematic, and sometimes wild ride through the Middle Ages. Expertly told vignettes, penetrating character studies, engaging walks through literary works, and periodic penetrating historical analyses-there is no other introduction to the Middle Ages quite like Beatrice's Last Smile. The book's countless short stories hang together in an intricate, delicate narrative structure, revealing a world of deep flaws and tremendous beauty and creating a reading experience that is both intellectually stimulating and emotionally resonant. * Jay Rubenstein, author of Nebuchadnezzar's Dream * Mark Gregory Pegg offers a fresh, coherent, and entirely original vision of the western Middle Ages. The intensity of his engagement with a remarkable range and variety of primary sources, the boldness of his design, and the vigour of his prose combine the pace of a spirited charger with the depth and clarity of a timeless mosaic. * R. I. Moore, Professor Emeritus of History, Newcastle University * In some of the most beautiful word portraits I have ever read, Mark Gregory Pegg has crafted a history of the West (the later Roman Empire through the end of the Middle Ages) that will captivate readers. With precision and delicacy, the pages come alive with the spiritual yearnings of people so like ourselves in their desire for the good life and yet so different in how they conceived it and thought to achieve it. This book was almost impossible to put down. It is one of the major accomplishments of modern historical scholarship and in every way a tour de force. Pegg is the real thing, a genuine magister, and Beatrice's Last Smile is a masterpiece. * William C. Jordan, Dayton-Stockton Professor of History, Princeton University *


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