In the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars and beginning with the July Monarchy of 1830, the makers of modern France turned away from the Greco-Roman past and looked instead to the Middle Ages to create a uniquely French national identity. This involved restoring cathedrals—transforming them from religious shrines into national architectural monuments—as well as locating and editing medieval literary and historical works. The two most prominent figures in this movement were Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, who had a hand in the remaking of every major religious edifice from the 11th-hour rescue of the Vézelay Abbey in 1836, to the restoration of Notre Dame de Paris between 1844 and 1864, and Gaston Paris, the earliest pioneer of Medieval Studies in France.
R. Howard Bloch
Sterling Professor of French and Chair of the Humanities Program, Yale University
Howard Bloch taught at UC Berkeley for twenty years before joining the Yale faculty in 1997. His many books and articles cover a wide range of topics, including medieval literature and social history; legal, economic, familial, and political institutions; humor and the fabliaux; gender and the rise of Western romantic love; and the history of the discipline of Medieval Studies. His most recent book is A Needle in the Right Hand of God: The Norman Conquest of 1066 and the Making and Meaning of the Bayeux Tapestry.
Medieval Matters is a series of public lectures co-sponsored by the Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, the Office for Religious Life, the Sarum Seminar, and Stanford Continuing Studies. It explores the relevance of medieval history and culture to understanding the modern world.
Free and open to public