Joseph P. Huffmans Family, Commerce and Religion in London and Cologne: Anglo-German Immigrants, c.1000-c.1300: (Cambridge 1998) is the most recent contribution to a burgeoning field of historical scholarship, i.e. the study of Anglo-German relations in the Middle Ages. Over the last fifteen years a number of studies have appeared on the subject.
In recent decades, the fields of women's and gender studies have rapidly expanded. In trying to understand women's roles in past societies, historians have paid particular attention to issues surrounding marriage, family, and the household.
On the opening page of her new book Privacy and Solitude in the Middle Ages, Diana Webb identifies its driving interests: first, 'in what medieval people regarded as reason or justification for retreating, permanently or temporarily, from the wider society, and secondly in their awareness of their dwelling spaces'.
This book is the result of a bold and innovative research project funded between 1999 and 2002 by the then Arts and Humanities Research Board, with further funds provided subsequently by a number of scholarly institutions. The preface further acknowledges the support of a glittering array of scholars, not least Geoffrey Parker who read through the entire draft.
This festschrift pays tribute to one of our most distinguished medievalists, who has helped shape the subject through his teaching and writing, and through his active support for societies and individuals.
It is possible today to admire reconstructions of medieval kitchens at several historical monuments across Europe. Many of these displays have been carefully researched and tend to provide a fascinating insight into aspects of everyday life in the Middle Ages.
Until Irina Metzler published her first volume on medieval disability in 2006 (1), the lives of the physically impaired in the Middle Ages had received relatively little scholarly attention.
Essay collections are always a mixed bag, and this one is more muddled than most. The warning signs are clear. The volume is part of a series ominously titled ‘Austrian Studies in English’. Six of the 15 essays were papers presented at a 2010 conference of the same name at the University of Vienna.
Arguably, no other institution in the Middle Ages and early modern era was as subject to as many legal disparities and disputes between royal and papal power as that of royal marriage. In fact, a royal marriage was far from a private affair. On the spiritual level, the marriage of a royal couple was to reflect the sanctity of the life union between woman and man at the highest strata.
The 13 essays in this book are the outcome of a conference (with the addition of a few other papers) held at Winchester University in September 2011.