The writing and reading of history in the early Middle Ages form the key themes of this book. The primary focus is on the remarkable manifestations of historical writing in relation to historical memory in the Frankish kingdoms of the eighth and ninth centuries. It considers the audiences for history in the Frankish kingdoms, the recording of memory in new genres including narrative histories, cartularies and Libri memoriales, and thus particular perceptions of the Frankish and Christian past. It analyses both original manuscript material and key historical texts from the Carolingian period, a remarkably creative period in the history of European culture. Presentations of the past developed in this period were crucial in forming an historical understanding of the Greco-Roman and Judaeo-Christian past and, in subsequent centuries, of early medieval Europe. They also played an extraordinarily influential role in the formation of political ideologies and senses of identity within Europe.
'This volume ... raises central questions about the conscious and implicit functions of Carolingian historical texts, their setting in a broader and more fluid historical narrative, and the evidence for how they circulated. There are important demonstrations of how the manuscripts provide an amplification and a check on what a printed edition can reveal.' Institute of Historical Research
"This is a remarkable book that makes the arcana of medievalistsa evaluation of manuscripts intelligible and inspiring, even for nonspecialists. Highly recommended." CHOICE May 2005
"This book will surely appeal to her [McKitterick's] fellow medievalists, as well as to graduate students, and shake up the field. It's thorough and provocative look at cherished conventional wisdoms will force students of the period to place the context, construction, and manuscript traditions of their sources at the forefront of any effort to understand them." Warren Brown- California Institute of Technology
"This book moves the discussion of history writing and reading in the Carolingian age to a new level. It restores agency to Carolingian writers, outlines many of the important issues that animated reflection on the past and provokes us on almost every page to re-examine our understanding of Carolingian texts and contexts. In the end, McKitterick reminds us, it is a people's sense of the past that matters more than the past itself." - John J. Contreni, Purdue University