The Golden Middle Age. By Roger Lloyd (Longmans, 10s. 6d.)
Reviewed by T. CHARLES EDWARDS
THIS is an attractively written and pleasantly well-informed hook, which, while it expressly denies any claim to deep scholarship, is yet the fruit of a sufficiently wide and reflective reading on the twelfth century.
Canon Lloyd has in fact provided an excellent Introduction to that Renaissance of the twelfth century which lies behind the achievement of the thirteenth. Much has been omitted intentionally, since the monastic revival, the Crusades, and the development of the struggle between the Empire and the Papacy would have overcrowded a book of two hundred and fifty pages, if they had received adequate treatment. Instead the author has confined himself to the social and intellectual background of the century. The social background is sufficiently suggested in chapter five, while in two long chapters the schools, the universities, and their scholars are dealt with. This exposition is prefaced by a short essay, rather clumsily entitled The Twelfth Century Effort, and by a cleverly written chapter sketching in the cultural movement between Charlemagne and Abelard.
Perhaps the best part of the book is Canon Lloyd's treatment of John of Salisbury. There are one or two slips. Dom Adrian Morey has unaccountably become " Mr Morey," and " militated " has been metamorphosed by the printer into "mitigated." On page 211, Canon Lloyd commits himself to a statement which is perilously near to anachronism, in discussing St. Thomas of Caterbury.
The book has a number of excellent stories. For instance it is pleasant to know that Matthew Parker marked with approbation John of Salisbury's remark in the Policratieus: " Still, some married persons are holier than many virgins." Again there is that famous sermon of St. Wilfrid at Ripon. "His every sentence was greeted by cheers; thereupon he promptly invited his congregation to a great feast, which lasted three days and three nights." In fact, this is a book worth reading.