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History in flames : the destruction and survival of medieval manuscripts

ISBN: 9781009457156
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Origin: GB
Release Date: August, 2024

Book Details

To what extent does our knowledge of the past rely upon written sources? And what happens when these sources are destroyed? Focusing on the manuscripts of the Middle Ages, History in Flames explores cases in which large volumes of written material were destroyed during a single day. This destruction didn’t occur by accident of fire or flood but by human forces such as arson, shelling and bombing. This book examines the political and military events that preceded the moment of destruction, from the Franco-Prussian War and the Irish Civil War to the complexities of World War II; it analyses the material lost and how it came to be where it was. At the same time, it discusses the heroic efforts made by scholars and archivists to preserve these manuscripts, even partially. History in Flames reminds us that historical knowledge rests on material remains, and that these remains are vulnerable.