Henri Pirenne, Historian
A Life in Pictures
Preface by Martha C. Howell
Henri Pirenne (1862–1935) was a Belgian historian of international stature. He had an intellectual reputation that extended far beyond the borders of his own country. The Histoire de Belgique, which he published in the early decades of the twentieth century, was regarded as a model of innovative national history. His ideas about the development of the medieval city attracted attention, and his thesis on the influence of Islam on European history initiated a debate that continues today. Pirenne is now established as one of the twentieth century's greatest historians, who inspired not only a whole generation of French historians but also numerous other European and American intellectuals.
This book is not merely a writer’s oeuvre. It is a life in pictures: Pirenne’s biography is probingly enhanced by means of original and attractive pictorial material. The photos illustrate how the historian was intellectually formed and how his career developed. They illuminate the growth of his oeuvre and the rise of his reputation. They depict his teachers and friends. They recapture the events at which he was honored as well as his wartime exile. Henri Pirenne, Historian opens to view the work and life of an historian whose significance continues to be recognized well beyond the confines of his own discipline.
Sarah Keymeulen is a researcher at Ghent University.