Our understanding of medieval Central and Eastern Europe is being revitalized by new directions in cultural history. Careful and detailed portraits of fourteenth- and fifteenth-century life in the region expand our vision of the interplay between religion, politics, music and memory. Cultural history is here focused around two overarching themes, the court and the city: the city, considered as a construct, a place of economic and cultural specialization and exchange, and a material space; the court, as a setting of power, a social network, a terrain for the exercise of patronage, and as a forensic institution; the school, especially the university and the mendicant studium generale, considered as venues for education, and for interregional cultural contact; the economy, especially of particular towns, groups of towns, regional hinterlands, and particular sectors; and prevailing ideas, especially as articulated in urban and learned settings. We see the region in its intimate relationship with other regions of Europe: the commercial, intellectual, and social networks that naturally connect Poland and its neighbours to centres in Italy, France and Germany, as well as the broad areas of contact, cultural sharing, and similarity of patterns. Gorecki and Van Deusen delineate a comprehensive historiographical framework, and draw links between this emerging history of the region and Polish, Eastern European as well as European history. They conclude by exploring the prospects for a new cultural history of East Central Europe. 'Central and Eastern Europe in the Middle Ages' contributes to the problem of 'Europe' - as a region and as a construct. An encounter between several strands of current medieval historiography, it will be invaluable for scholars working on the cultural, economic and social history of Central and Eastern Europe.
Central and Eastern Europe in the Middle Ages
A Cultural History