Medieval Dreams

Peter Burke

One night in 1130, King Henry I had a nightmare. He dreamed that he was being attacked, first by a crowd of peasants, then by a group of knights, and finally by a number of clerics. For many historians, this detail, recorded by the chronicler John of Worcester, would be no more than a fascinating piece of useless information. For Professor Jacques Le Goff, it is a clue which helps us to understand the 12th century a little better. Le Goff, whose collected essays, written between 1956 and 1976, and published in French in 1977, have just made their appearance in English, is one of the liveliest and most stimulating historians at work in France today – no small praise at a time when Ladurie has just published another monograph, and Braudel is still active.

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