When I was young… when I was 16 or maybe 18… I can’t remember exactly when, but I was younger than now, that for sure…
When I was young, then, I wanted to be a medievalist.
That was probably the first time I realized I wanted to became a historian.
No, not a historian. A medievalist.
It was not a coincidence. I think it was my professor of latin. She recommended one of his books at class. Or maybe not, and I’m wrong. Maybe was the public librarian. I’m not sure…
In any case, Jacques Le Goff, the great medievalist, passed away the 1st of april.
He was (and Duby, Burke, Bloch…) guilty of dragged me into history.
He wrote about a place (Middle Ages) plenty of people dreaming, fearing, loving, sweating…
He was the incarnation of Bloch’s ogre: “The historian is like the ogre of fairy tales: where he smells human flesh, there he finds his quarry”.
Sometimes we forget about it. History is nothing but people through time.
Jacques Le Goff taught me that.
I never met him. Or yes, I met him. I have read his books… enough to miss him.
Some links to Le Goff’s talks, interviews, etc.