Cynthia Harnett’s ‘The Wool-Pack’

Cynthia Harnett’s The Wool-Pack is a fascinating book in all sorts of ways. I wonder, for a start, how a contemporary publisher would react to any author who presented a book to them on the 15th century wool trade? But The Wool-Pack is by no means a dry, historical tome. The winner of the 1951 Carnegie Medal (theContinue reading “Cynthia Harnett’s ‘The Wool-Pack’”

Quotation of the Day

“Considered etymologically, [the word ‘medieval’] assumes that we have to deal with a threefold division of time, a succession of three periods in terms of Hegelian dialectic. Viewed thus, the ‘Middle Ages’ are a transition from antiquity to modern times; but if by that phrase we mean that they form a chronological link between theContinue reading “Quotation of the Day”

Quotation of the Day

“The expression ‘Middle Ages,’ when used to designate the period 1050-1350 and the following century, is open to objection. The phrase itself and the notion it is intended to convey were alike unknown to the men of that epoch. Unconscious of any break in continuity between themselves and their predecessors of the ancient world, theyContinue reading “Quotation of the Day”

The Fossil Girl and Earth’s Deep History

Catherine Brighton’s The Fossil Girl: Mary Anning’s Dinosaur Discovery is in many ways a lovely book. The pictures are glorious and the story of the young Mary discovering the first complete Ichthyosaur is fascinating. However, a couple of minor moments mar the whole. The first is a page showing Mary having a tower constructed so sheContinue reading “The Fossil Girl and Earth’s Deep History”

St Bede the Venerable’s ‘Ecclesiastical History of the English People’

In 1899 an English historian was declared a doctor of the Church. A man who had never had political influence or held high office in the Church was now officially one of the Church’s great teachers. His name was Bede, or the Venerable Bede as he was called even in his own lifetime. Why wasContinue reading “St Bede the Venerable’s ‘Ecclesiastical History of the English People’”