Patrick Geary‘s penetrating analysis brings out the specific connections between American medievalists and the German Middle Ages as well as between American historians and German medieval scholarship. There is much food for thought in his discussion for a German historian. What is more, Geary takes into account the central idea of the different ways in which the Middle Ages have been interpreted over time. In other words, he considers the manner in which historical models are shaped by the thinking and perceptions of different generations.
It is remarkable that the question of whether something can be learned at all from German medieval scholarship was positively answered by American medievalists at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries. Especially the Germans‘ work with primary sources and their philological methods were highly regarded. Indeed, what else could American historians have learned from a historiography that had taken upon itself, first and foremost, the task of serving the state by describing the history of the development of the German nation-state—always with an eye toward the founding of the German Reich in
This comment was translated by Kristen E. Klay, Göttingen.