Historian Daniel Hobbins on the Great Age of Books

Author: Arts and Letters

University of Notre Dame Associate Professor Daniel Hobbins is a historian of high and late medieval Europe, with a particular interest in the cultural and intellectual history of the period from 1300 to 1500. Under this broad heading, his research has focused on late medieval authorship (through the example of Jean Gerson), Joan of Arc, and backgrounds to print.

In this video, Hobbins discusses his research on the tremendous changes in book production in the late Middle Ages, before the advent of print.

“The 14th century is not typically thought of as a great time to be alive,” he says, noting that the people of that time faced plague, war, and famine. “It’s been treated as a time of crisis and decline. Despite that, there was greater hunger for books than ever before.”

A cultural and intellectual historian of the late middle ages, Hobbins received his Ph.D. in medieval history from Notre Dame’s Medieval Institute in 2002 and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University in 2004.

Most recently an associate professor of history at The Ohio State University, Hobbins says his reasons for wanting to return to Notre Dame were both personal and professional. One of the most important factors, he says, is the University’s commitment to medieval studies.

“Notre Dame has a very, very strong program,” Hobbins says. “It’s a great place to be a medievalist.”

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Originally published by Arts and Letters at al.nd.edu on January 17, 2013.