Autumntide of the Middle Ages

A study of forms of life and thought of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries in France and the Low Countries

About this book

This new English translation of Huizinga’s Autumntide of the Middle Ages (Herfsttij der Middeleeuwen) celebrates the centenary of a book that still ranks as one of the most perceptive and influential analyses of the late medieval period. Its wide-ranging discussion of fourteenth and fifteenth century France and the Low Countries makes it a classic study of life, culture, and thought in medieval society.

The new and now unabridged translation of the original text captures the impact of Huizinga’s deep scholarship and powerful language. The translation is based on the Dutch edition of 1941 – the last edition Huizinga worked on. It features English renderings of the Middle French poems and other contemporary sources, and its colour illustrations include over three hundred paintings and prints, illuminated manuscripts, and miniatures pertinent to Huizinga’s discourse. A complete bibliography of Huizinga’s sources will facilitate further research, while an epilogue addresses the meaning and enduring importance of this classic work.

Johan Huizinga (1872-1945), one of the founders of cultural history, ranks among the most influential Dutch thinkers of the twentieth century. He produced a body of writing on subjects that range from medieval art to the mechanization of modern America. The publication of Herfsttij der Middeleeuwen in 1919 brought him international renown, and contributed to the multiple nominations he received later in his career for the Nobel Prize in Literature, a rare accolade for a professor of history. Among his other important works are Erasmus (1924), In the Shadow of Tomorrow (1935) and Homo Ludens (1938). He died in internal exile, a few months before the liberation of the Netherlands.

Diane Webb has translated a wide range of literature on art-historical and historical subjects, including Ruusbroec: Literature and Mysticism in the Fourteenth Century by Geert Warnar, as well as Herman Pleij’s Dreaming of Cockaigne: Medieval Fantasies of the Perfect Life and Colors Demonic and Divine: Shades of Meaning in the Middle Ages and After (for which she was awarded the Vondel Prize for Dutch Translation in 2005).

Graeme Small is Professor of Medieval History at Durham University and the author of several books, including George Chastelain and the Shaping of Valois Burgundy as well as Court and Civic Society in the Burgundian Low Countries (with Andrew Brown) and Late Medieval France.

Anton van der Lem, a leading expert on Huizinga, has written or edited many articles and books, including the recently published Rereading Huizinga. It was at his suggestion that Leiden University Press decided to publish this first full-text translation from the original Dutch into English, and he set the standard with his Dutch centenary edition of Herfsttij. A fellow of Leiden University Libraries, he is the editor of


Format: Hardback

Pages: 616

Illustrated: Yes

ISBN Print: 9789087283131

Published: 29 May 2020

Language: English



Price 68.00


  • Birger Vanwesenbeeck, Los Angeles Review of Books

    “One of the great merits of Webb’s new translation is that, for the first time, English readers get to encounter this lyrical Huizinga in all his splendor.”

    “Webb’s new translation is the first English rendition of Autumntide that comes equipped with a scholarly apparatus, as well as a plethora of high-quality image reproductions of the various artworks, sites, and objects relevant to Huizinga’s text.[...]these images alone make this latest translation of Huizinga’s masterpiece a must-have. Indeed, one might be tempted to call it a coffee-table book were it not for the sparkling prose of its author (and translator), which vies with the gorgeous images adorning its every page.”

  • Benjamin Kaplan, the low countries

    New English Edition of Huizinga’s Autumntide Captures His Original Voice Better Than Ever

    “The translator has captured the poetic qualities of Huizinga’s authorial voice without sacrificing the readability of the text. (…) The result is a version of the text that captures Huizinga’s original voice better than either of the two previous English editions.”

    “The edition is gorgeous – solidly bound with thick paper, and with high-quality illustrations of most, if not all, the works of art Huizinga mentions in his text, plus others. At the same time, the edition has been produced to a high scholarly standard. It includes all of Huizinga’s original prefaces, notes, timeline, and a reconstructed bibliography of works cited by the author.”

  • Richard Rex, First Things

    "Johan Huizinga’s The Waning of the Middle Ages, as it was once known, is a hundred years old and has just been awarded the accolade of a magnificent centenary edition in a superb, fresh English translation. This lavishly illustrated volume marvelously enhances the reader’s encounter with a historical classic by presenting alongside the text a mass of the ¬visual evidence the author discusses. Not many history books of the modern era have seen so many editions in so many different languages, and fewer still have enjoyed so long a run. How often, after all, does a book by a professional historian get a centenary edition, let alone such a luxurious one? The appearance of this latest version is a justly deserved tribute to a great work of history that is also a great work of literature."

  • John Wilson, First Things

    "This massive, gorgeously illustrated volume [. . .] offers a new translation of Huizinga’s classic supplemented by all sorts of useful and interesting material. It is in every way a superb production, beginning with Diane Webb’s translator’s note. If you know someone fascinated by the subject (especially someone you want to find a special gift for), you couldn’t go wrong with this. Of course, you might want to add it to your own library as well."

  • Martin Sommer, Volkskrant

    “Honderd-één jaar heeft het geduurd voordat Herfsttij der Middeleeuwen integraal in het Engels is vertaald. Onze beroemdste historicus Johan Huizinga publiceerde zijn meesterwerk in 1919. En pas nu is het compleet en onverkort als Autumntide of the Middle Ages verschenen, in een zorgvuldige vertaling van Diane Webb, van huis uit Amerikaans en met een voorliefde voor de Middeleeuwen.”

  • Joppe Gloerich, Elsevier Weekblad

    "De uitbundigheid van de veertiende en vijftiende eeuw herleeft in nieuwe Engelse vertaling van Johan Huizinga’s “Herfsttij der Middeleeuwen.” (…) De monumentale, rijk geïllustreerde publicatie is een geheel nieuwe Engelse vertaling van Huizinga’s standaardwerk."

Related products

Preloader Image
Terrorism and Counterterrorism Studies revised edition
Cover of South Asia Unbound

Be the first to hear about the latest news and publications of LUP.

Subscribe to our newsletter >>

Be the first to hear about the latest news and publications of LUP.

Subscribe to our newsletter >>