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SuperSalon with Matthew Gabriele and David M. Perry: Illuminating the ‘Bright Ages’

March 5, 2022 at 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm EST

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Medieval historians and co-authors of the newly-released The Bright Ages Matthew Gabriele & David M. Perry join Interintellect hosts Donald Frederick & Catherine Woodiwiss for a special SuperSalon about the medieval world, nostalgia, and our cultural moment.

“It is evident that the title ‘Dark Ages,’ given to the mediæval centuries, is…wholly inapplicable. They were, on the contrary, the bright ages; ours are the dark ones. I do not mean metaphysically, but literally. They were the ages of gold: ours are the ages of umber.” — John Ruskin, “Of Modern Landscapes,” Modern Painters, Vol 3

Was there ever a “Dark Ages?”

In their book The Bright Ages: A New History of Medieval Europe, historians Matthew Gabriele and David M. Perry expertly subvert common assumptions about the thousand-year period between the fall of Rome and the Renaissance — including popular myths about these two bookend “events.” Instead, they shed light on the great works, achievements, and peoples of the medieval world, “firmly grounded in their political and cultural moment, inspired by a whole world and a whole millennial of art, culture, and religion.” 

In this SuperSalon, we’ll host a discussion with the authors about the origins of the idea of the “Dark Ages,” and why we might think of these years instead as time of beauty as well as devastation, continuity as well as upheaval.

We’ll also discuss how and why the concept of a Dark Age lives on today in popular imagination … who gets to label and define epochs in history? Does mythologizing historical moments create value or cause harm? Why are medieval symbols and images making a resurgence in our political battles and cultural rallying cries? And what can nostalgia for the medieval world — real and revisionist — tell us about our public discourse today?

This salon will draw from major ideas, themes, and historical trends put forward in the authors’ book The Bright Ages. Salon attendees who purchase a copy of the book in advance of this SuperSalon may attend the salon for free. Please contact hosts Donald Frederick or Catherine Woodiwiss to apply the discount code.  

Primary Readings:

Suggested Additional Readings:


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March 5, 2022
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm EST
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