The article will consider the work of Mark Blok, which reflects the coverage of the civilization of the medieval West. What monographs, in fact, should begin to get acquainted with the Western Middle Ages? The books will not be described in full, in more detail, since these are not reviews, but a few thoughts.
Keywords: Mark Blok, medieval west, apology, feudalism.
Blok's works are written in accordance with what is now called the historical-anthropological approach. They have a relatively small linear political history, primarily because these books are about medieval people. Indeed, according to the definition of Mark Blok, «history is the science of people in time». 
But first, plunge into the atmosphere of unfading classics, with which you can argue in detail, but with which you always come back with pleasure.
Biography of Mark Blok — in his ideas, discoveries, books, students. However, his biography is not limited to this. Everyone who knew him noted the exceptional integrity of the individual: the scientist and man were inseparable. An outstanding historian, he was both a citizen and a patriot. Having appropriated his mind and research temperament to the worldwide “republic of scientists», he gave his life to his homeland, and his name is listed in the pantheon of heroes of the French Resistance.
Marc Block was born July 6, 1886 in Lyon in the family of a university professor. His father, Gustave Block, was once a famous specialist in antiquity. Subsequently, Block repeatedly noted the great influence of his father on the formation of his interest in history. Not without pride, he remembered that his great-grandfather was a soldier of the revolutionary army in 1793. The republican and patriotic tradition, by his own admission, turned out to be no less significant factor in the formation of his worldview than the academic tradition.
One of the works “Apology of History” on which Blok worked in 1941–1942 bears the imprint of this tragic time. By his own admission, the book arose as an “antidote,” in which he “in the midst of terrible suffering and anxiety, personal and public,” tried to “find some peace of mind” [2,c.20]. In his book, Blok saw the means of struggle for ideas that he defended throughout his life. The problem of justifying history is the problem of all modern civilization, which was threatened with death as a result of the outbreak of Nazi barbarism. The historian has two questions. One is a child, a son: “Dad, explain to me why a story is needed?” Another is a French officer on the day the Germans entered Paris: “You must think that history has deceived us?”
Block could not complete the book, but nevertheless gave an answer to these questions. The scientist answered not only with his last manuscript, but also with life itself.
The “apology of history” occupies a special, if not exclusive, place in the vast literature devoted to the problems of historical knowledge. Usually the works of this genre are written not by professional historians, but by philosophers. A historian-researcher, as a rule, is too absorbed in his special questions to seriously deal with the more general and wider problems of historical knowledge; moreover, he is not always ready to discuss them reasonably enough. And if the opinion has been expressed more than once that the historian’s business is to study the concrete structure of the historical process by providing global generalizations to methodologists and sociologists, it is hardly fair, all the same it should be recognized: in practice, such a “division of labor”, unfortunately, exists. [12, c. 100]
Historians — agnostics, subjectivists, relativists — have relieved themselves of responsibility for knowing the past of this civilization, which Blok justifiably calls the «civilization of historians». Blok himself recognizes the responsibility of the historian — the book is also about this.
«Apology of history». But Blok gives his book a middle name: «The Craft of the Historian». To reveal these secrets, to show how the master of historical craft works, what difficulties await him in knowing the past and the possibility of overcoming them — such is the goal set by Blok. How urgent this task has been and remains is evidenced by the state of the block of modern historical science.
And the next work is Feudal Society, in which it is appropriate to divide the evolution of the development of historical research, especially the history of the Middle Ages, into two large periods — before and after the Bloc. Mark is an outstanding French historian, one of the founders of the Annals magazine (he published it along with another major French historian, Lucien Fevre), and later a school of the same name, creator of a fundamentally new approach to the study of history. In a nutshell: the basis of his method — the study of history should not be based on an analysis of the thoughts of individual historical figures, but on direct mass manifestations; when studying a phenomenon, it is necessary to move from the period of its maturity to the moment of its inception (and not vice versa, as was customary in old historiography). To present history as a continuous process in which one comes from the other and where the historical fabric itself, the daily life of social groups is of particular value — at that time it was a revolutionary idea. Actually, historical anthropology begins with the works of Blok and February. The history of everyday life, interdisciplinary research, everything that has become mainstream in recent decades, largely came from their ideas.
The book Feudal Society, first published in 1939 (and dedicated to Western and Central Europe from the middle of the 9th century to the first decades of the 13th century), is a universally recognized classic of medieval studies, an essay that breaks traditional historiography, which studied mainly the actions of kings and aristocracy, political events and wars, and feudalism considered relations referring exclusively to the aristocracy. Blok explores feudalism from the point of view of collective psychology, social structures, the way of thinking and worldview of people who lived at that time, including the peasantry, which before it remained almost unnoticed.
Being a wonderful stylist, he saves the reader from cumbersome scientific calculations: the book is written tightly, brightly and vividly. The story begins with the last raids of barbarians: Arabs, Hungarians and Normans. “To imagine these northern warriors, endow them with powerful and cruel sensuality, a love of bloodshed and destruction, sometimes turning into madness that knows no boundaries: for example, the famous orgy of 1012, during which the bishop of Canterbury beat up the bones of eaten bulls before were reasonably guarded, expecting a ransom. Is it any wonder that everyone was delighted with the Normans? ”
For representatives of the famous French historical and anthropological school, to which Marc Bloc belongs, it is not only about the legal relations of the Signor and the vassal and not only about fragmentation. The book «Feudal Society» «is an attempt to analyze and explain a certain social structure and its connections». Medieval culture appears before us as a complex harmonious system in which the forms of land use and the creation of the medieval revival, folk beliefs and biblical traditions are inextricably linked. Thus, the analysis of the most diverse and sometimes unexpected sources reveals the close semantic and semantic interweaving within the feudal society. The book is built in the spirit of anthropology — describing, first of all, the atmosphere of the era, the historian actually paints a picture of the inner world of a medieval man, referring to his spiritual landmarks and values - religion, nature, time, etc. [14, c.56] Then another person appears on the scene, and Block's field of vision is the relationship between two characters — whether it is a blood relationship, a tribute, or slavery. The third part of the «feudal society.
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