A SUNDAY TIMES HISTORY BOOK OF THE YEAR
'A triumph' Guardian
'Glorious ... makes the past at once familiar, exotic and thrilling.' Dominic Sandbrook
'A brilliant book' Mail on Sunday
Just like us, medieval men and women worried about growing old, got blisters and indigestion, fell in love and had children. And yet their lives were full of miraculous and richly metaphorical experiences radically different to our own, unfolding in a world where deadly wounds might be healed overnight by divine intervention, or the heart of a king, plucked from his corpse, could be held aloft as a powerful symbol of political rule.
In this richly-illustrated and unusual history, Jack Hartnell uncovers the fascinating ways in which people thought about, explored and experienced their physical selves in the Middle Ages, from Constantinople to Cairo and Canterbury. Unfolding like a medieval pageant, and filled with saints, soldiers, caliphs, queens, monks and monstrous beasts, it throws light on the medieval body from head to toe - revealing the surprisingly sophisticated medical knowledge of the time in the process.
Bringing together medicine, art, music, politics, philosophy and social history, there is no better guide to what life was really like for the men and women who lived and died in the Middle Ages.
is published in association with Wellcome Collection. A brilliant book ... beautifully illustrated ... A triumphant piece of historical writing -- Kathryn Hughes * Mail on Sunday * An extraordinary story and a wonderfully rich study of the Middle Ages ... Hartnell's idea of approaching the medieval worldview through the body is inspired ... This beautifully illustrated book succeeds brilliantly in bringing this much maligned period to life ... A triumph of scholarship. -- PD Smith * Guardian * One of the achievements of this splendid book is to make our world view seem more narrow and fragmented than that of the extensive period we place somewhere between the Dark Ages and the Renaissance ... at every point you'll encounter wit, learning and riveting stories. A wonderful read. -- Melanie McDonagh * Evening Standard * An erudite, wide-ranging, thoughtfully illustrated book -- Laura Freeman * The Times * 'Glorious ... makes the past at once familiar, exotic and thrilling.' Dominic Sandbrook, The Sunday Times -- Dominic Sandbrook * Sunday Times * A thick, spicy plum pudding of a book * London Review of Books *