Medieval historian who shared fine values of the knights he studied

Historians in the News

MAURICE KEEN: UNTIL THE second World War, most British medieval historians avoided cultural history, remaining more concerned with the church, government or the law; institutions and politics.

Except for the literate pious, what might have made medieval people tick was treated as self-evident, immaterial or unknowable. In the subsequent revolution of approaches, Maurice Keen, who has died aged 78, played a seminal role. His major book, Chivalry (1984), which won the Wolfson prize that year, remains one of the great works of history in English of the past 70 years.

After Chivalry, no one could look at Keen’s subject, the knightly life, unaffected by his comprehensive and nuanced exposition of the nature and significance of the culture of those who ruled western Europe for half a millennium....

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