Since its beginning in the 1940s, Duby's career has been rich and varied, encompassing economic history, social history, the history of mentalites, art history, microhistory, urban history, the history of women and sexuality, and, most recently, the Church's influence on feudal society. In retracing this singular career path, Duby candidly remembers his life's most formative influences, including the legendary historians Marc Bloch and Lucien Febvre, the Annales School so closely associated with them, and the College de France.
Duby also offers insights about the proper methods of gathering and using archival data and on constructing penetrating interpretations of the documents. Indeed, his discussion of how he chose his subjects, collected his materials, developed the arguments, erected the scaffolding and constructed his theses offers the best introduction to the craft available to aspiring historians.
Candid and charming, this book is both a memoir of one of this century's great scholars and a history of the French historical school since the mid-twentieth century. It will be required reading for anyone interested in the French academic milieu, medieval history, French history, or the recording of history in general.
Georges Duby, a member of the Academie francaise, for many years held the distinguished chair in medieval history at the College de France. His numerous books include The Age of Cathedrals; The Knight, the Lady, and the Priest; Love and Marriage in the Middle Ages; and The Three Orders—all published by the University of Chicago Press.