The Past of the Past: Historical Distance and the Medieval Image


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This essay’s subject is the role of visual culture in constructing both the medieval idea of antiquity and the modern idea of the Middle Ages. Historians of the early twentieth century saw the medieval image of antiquity as epoch-defining—‘image’ in both conceptual and visual senses of the word, which in this discourse were fundamentally connected. Returning to the medieval textual culture at the foundation of that argument makes it possible to reconsider, historicise, and critique controlling paradigms of twentieth-century intellectual history about the classical reception, periodisation, and the relationship between the two.

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New Medieval Literatures
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1465-3737
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