The Transformation of Europe 1300-1600

Nicholas, David
Date published: 
April 1999

The 'Transformation of Europe' gently subverts a conventional vision of Europe that divides the world between the late-medieval and early modern periods, emphasizing the distortion involved in that construction. Important changes towards 'modernity' are evident, the book argues, as early as the fourteenth century; only in religious history does there appear to be some justification for retaining the traditional notion that 'modern age' began with Martin Luther, though even in that arena the institutional break of the Protestants with Rome cannot conceal fundamental continuity of expression and attitude. The 'transformation' of the title emphasizes gradual, if significant change in the period. Change to the political configuration and governing institutions of Europe, to the economy and to society, to the region's relations with the broader world, to the course of creative activity, and to religious attitudes. Professor Nicholas is an effective and experienced guide to the important themes and unfolding events in Europe's history from the onset of the Hundred Years war to the great confessional divide of the sixteenth century.