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Using architecture, sculpture, culture and history, Adams humanizes the medieval period and provides valuable insight on religious philosophy. Mont-Saint Michel and Chartes provides a background and description of the construction of two French landmarks built in the 11th century. The Mont-Saint Michel cathedral was built during a militant time; it was not enough to simply be steadfast in one's own beliefs, but also to make others believe them. Religious conversion was a form of defense. Mont-Saint Michel was built in a period where faith was aggressive, almost violent, and to accommodate this, Mont-Saint Michel was built in honor of a warrior angel. In contrast, the Chartes cathedral, another French monument built in the Gothic period, was built as a shrine to Mary, the mother of God. Using Mary's image and inspiration, this church set a welcoming tone. While the cathedral of Mont-Saint Michel represents a more aggressive side of faith, the cathedral of Chartes is the embodiment of love and peace. In the same way that this contrast exists between the two cathedrals, a similar duality is present in the Christian faith. It is both a safe haven and a weapon wielded by the religious in order to conform others to their faith. Through descriptions and comparisons between Mont-Saint Michel and Chartes, Adams provides thoughtful reflection on both Christianity and the magnificent structures of the Gothic period.
Mont-Saint Michel and Chartes by Henry Adamsis a subjective and personal view on history written in beautiful prose. With the stories behind two grand French cathedrals, Mont-Saint Michel and Chartes explore themes of Christianity, gender, and medieval culture with eloquent and enlightened discourse on history and the politics within Christianity.
Now in a modern, readable font and new, striking cover design, Mont-Saint Michel and Chartes by the prolific American author and philosopher, Henry Adams provides meaningful meditation on the duality of religion and insight on the French Gothic period.