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Strange Landscape: Journey Through the Middle Ages (BBC Books) [Paperback]

Christopher Frayling
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

28 Nov 1996 BBC Books
A popular history of the Middle Ages. It looks at key events such as the birth of Gothic, the growth of unorthodox sects (the Cathars of Southern France and Bernard of Clairvaux are contrasted) and the great confrontation between Bernard and the philosopher Abelard. The book concludes with an analysis of Dante's divine comedy - which in many ways is a summary of late medieval thinking on art, love, theology, cosmology and science.

Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (28 Nov 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140261249
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140261240
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 12.6 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 325,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent though selective 27 Sep 2006
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This is the BBC book that accompanied a series that I didn't see: in it Frayling engages with the Middle Ages and reveals the period to be both familiar and alienating. He starts with a chapter taking an interesting look at out reception of medieval culture - from heavy metal to Lord of the Rings, via some genuine scholarly work, and then selects areas to focus on: medieval religious architecture, the clash of reason and faith personified by Abelard (and Heloise) vs. Bernard de Clairvaux, Dante's Divine Comedy.

This is a stimulating and interesting book both for the specialist and (as it's a BBC book) for anyone with an interest in this period. He doesn't eschew but equally doesn't focus on the usual historical stuff i.e. crusades, knights, courtly love etc, so to that extent it might assume a certain amount of knowledge on the side of the reader, and it ends with a short appendix on the current state of medieval studies which is useful for the student but perhaps not for a general reader.

The hardback version is also beautifully illustrated and well worth the price for the pictures alone. Altogether, well recommended.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Much ado about nothing 17 Dec 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Very messy discordant work. Skips lightly through topics, so lightly that the topics may just as well be a bag of air.
Perhaps it worked much better as a tv series, for a book it does not stand alone.

Insubstantial and whispy
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Selected Glimpse at the Middle Ages 23 May 2001
By Ricky Hunter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Christopher Frayling's Strange Landscape (A Journey Through the Middle Ages) is a companion book to the BBC series. Having never seen the series I cannot compare the two (although having read the book I would be fascinated how this could possibly have worked on television). The book has a marvelous introduction (the best part) that looks at the concept of the Middle Ages in today's culture and then follows with a section on cathedral building, the Cathars and St. Francis, Abelard versus Bernard of Clairvaux, and Dante. It is a very selective and idiosyncratic look at the middle ages but still quite interesting, both in its selection and its handling of material.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great "Autumn" Read 29 Aug 2010
By J. M. Rich - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Loved this book and have always loved the BBC documentary 'based' on this book. Too bad a Video/DVD is not available for purchase!!!
My old video recording from the original PBS broadcast, some 15 years ago, is really showing it's age! Christopher Frayling is a wonderful story teller!!!!!!!!
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