Beatrice's Last Smile: A New History of the Middle Ages


Product Details

Oxford University Press, USA
Publish Date
6.6 X 9.35 X 1.67 inches | 1.89 pounds

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About the Author

Mark Gregory Pegg is Professor of History at Washington University in St. Louis. He is the author of A Most Holy War: The Albigensian Crusade and the Battle for Christendom and The Corruption of Angels: The Great Inquisition of 1245-1246.


"In some of the most beautiful word portraits I have ever read, Mark Gregory Pegg has crafted a history of the West (the later Roman Empire through the end of the Middle Ages) that will captivate readers. With precision and delicacy, the pages come alive with the spiritual yearnings of people so like ourselves in their desire for the good life and yet so different in how they conceived it and thought to achieve it. This book was almost impossible to put down. It is one of the major accomplishments of modern historical scholarship and in every way a tour de force. Pegg is the real thing, a genuine magister, and Beatrice's Last Smile is a masterpiece." -- William C. Jordan, Dayton-Stockton Professor of History, Princeton University

"Mark Gregory Pegg offers a fresh, coherent and entirely original vision of the western Middle Ages. The intensity of his engagement with a remarkable range and variety of primary sources, the boldness of his design and the vigour of his prose combine the pace of a spirited charger with the depth and clarity of a timeless mosaic." -- R. I. Moore

"A fast-paced, cinematic, and sometimes wild ride through the Middle Ages. Expertly told vignettes, penetrating character studies, engaging walks through literary works, and periodic penetrating historical analyses--there is no other introduction to the Middle Ages quite like Beatrice's Last Smile. The book's countless short stories hang together in an intricate, delicate narrative structure, revealing a world of deep flaws and tremendous beauty and creating a reading experience that is both intellectually stimulating and emotionally resonant." -- Jay Rubenstein, author ebuchadnezzar's Dream

"One of the foremost historians of this generation evokes the worlds of the Middle Ages in magisterial prose. Through the aggregate of carefully rendered stories, Mark Gregory Pegg lays bare the lives, losses, ambitions, anxieties, disasters, and desires -- mediated by forces both numinous and practical -- that united men, women, and children in the religious experiences of the West. In doing so, he offers us what may be the most poignant and powerful history of the medieval world yet written." -- Anne E. Lester, Johns Hopkins University