An award-winning, widely recognized expert on pre-modern history, Professor Thomas F. Madden concludes this two-part series on the medieval world. In this course, we will see the error of the commonly held assumption that the "Dark Ages" was a time of superstition, ignorance, and violence. Rather than a time of darkness, the Middle Ages saw extraordinary innovation, invention, and cultural vitality. It was the Middle Ages that gave us universities, vernacular literature, and the extraordinary beauty of Gothic architecture. To study the medieval world, then, is not only to study a time that has passed away. It is to study the birth of a new culture that would mature into the modern West. Whether we know it or not, the world we live in today is itself the product of the Middle Ages-not "Dark," but remarkably bright.
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by Thomas F. Madden
"These are typical of many audio programs from academics offered under the rubric of formally or informally presenting a college course on a given subject. Everything depends on the delivery skills of the professor in question. Madden has a friendly approach, and he has organized his subject in linked snippets arranged around central themes that are introduced by the lecture subtitles of the two sets. Anyone even faintly interested in the topics gets a good dose of information. It seems that certain presuppositions on the medieval world have been altered since many of us were in school, so there's plenty of opportunity for both the history and delivery to engage the listener. D.R.W. (c) AudioFile 2010, Portland, Maine"