Gabrielle M. Spiegel

Gabrielle M. Spiegel ( born January 20, 1943 in New York City ) is an American medievalist.


Her Jewish family in 1938 fled for fear of Hitler's Europe from Antwerp to New York. While her father was Belgian, her mother came from Vienna. The family just wanted to temporarily reside in the U.S. and later return to Antwerp, so she moved primarily in the Belgian and Viennese émigré community. For this reason, the mother tongue is French mirror. Her mom had her doctorate at the University of Vienna in English philology. Her father had ruled eleven different languages. Mirror and her siblings - older brother, older sister and twin sister - learned English at school, after her parents spoke German with them. At the end of the Second World War, the family decided not to return.

In 1964 she completed her Bachelor 's degree in medieval history at Bryn Mawr College from David Herlihy. In the Same year she married the journalist Adam mirror, with whom she has two children. The MAT from Harvard University, she made ​​the following year, then she moved to Baltimore, because her husband began working at the Baltimore Sun. 1970 saw MA at Johns Hopkins University. During her studies, she met Robert Forster and Orest Ranum, supporters of the Annales school. At the same university it four years later received his Ph. D. Your doctor father was John W. Baldwin. The topic of their choice of thesis, the historiography at the time of the Capetians was relatively uncommon in the U.S., since at this time more emphasis was placed on empirical research into the history of institutions. Mirror gives as reasons for their choice of two reasons: First, there was her family situation, with two young children, who have made her a longer stay in European archives impossible, on the other hand, the increasing within the French historian Robert Henri Bautier and Bernard Guenee interest in the historiography itself latter she learned during her research stay in Paris know. A Survey, published in 1978 - For her doctoral thesis, the book The Chronicle Tradition of Saint- Denis was born. Nineteen years she was employed at the University of Maryland until she was appointed to the Johns Hopkins University in 1993.

In 2008, Spiegel President of the American Historical Association.

Your daughter is the radio journalist Alix Spiegel.


Mirror focuses near to the French medieval history with a postmodern approach in historiography.

As a reason for their choice of career levels considered their linguistic and cultural Marginalisierungserfahrung. " I am now Convinced did it was this sense of perduring not BELONGING, of intense discomfort and linguistic marginality, of having lost a past and personal history For Which I did felt I had been Intended but Which had been taken away from me by history Itself, generated did my need to be a historian [ ... ]. " mediävistisches your interest is from a reading of their school time " Birth of the West. Downfall of the Ancient Mediterranean and the rise of the Germanic Middle Ages " of the Belgian historian Henri Pirenne grow. Both the theme of the book as well as its argument, concentrating primarily on the value he put on long-term developments, they would have loved it. So mirror was also convinced that it which gave lines of development from the mainly Christian prejudice against Jews in the Middle Ages that led to the death of many of her family members and her her past and thus robbed and future: " [ ... ] Because I intuitively Fastened upon the idea did medieval Europe Represented in emblematic form the Christian world Whose Prejudices had led to the death of so many members of my family and deprived me of my history, Both past and future. "

Based on their study of the medieval French chronicles as part of her doctoral work, you raised the question of the real salary have this, especially triggered by the description of miracles, resurrections, etc. So they dealt with the work of Hayden White, in particular with his book Metahistory (1973 ), as well as with the writings of the post-structuralists. Nancy Partner, Robert Hanning and Robert Stein, colleagues mirror did the same. Herein was reflected in their view their own biography, which is connected with the need for a knowledge of the past and the simultaneous impossibility of safely attain, since that was irretrievably lost. Later, she was very interested the relationship between memory and history.

His most famous articles is one of the historical journal published in Speculum 1990 The Social Logic of the Text in the Middle Ages. In it she tries to make fruitful the approaches of the linguistic turn in the history of the Middle Ages. Together with other historians such as Nancy Partner, also a medievalist, and Davis and Lynn Hunt she searches for a moderate position that takes into account the post-modern approaches to historiography, but not the paradigms of their own education, ie any empiricism and the consideration of socio -economic background, gives up. She confesses the text to a social logic. Language fulfills two functions: The first is that it is a static picture of the context in which the text is produced, second function at that they also actively generates this context. These considerations can also be found in her 1993 book laid Romancing the Past. The Rise of Vernacular Prose Historiography in Thirteenth Century France.

Writings (selection )

  • The Chronicle Tradition of Saint- Denis - A Survey, Brookline 1978.
  • Romancing the Past - The Rise of Vernacular Prose Historiography in Thirteenth - Century France, Berkeley, 1993 ISBN 9780520089358.
  • The Past As Text - The Theory and Practice of Medieval Historiography, Baltimore 1997 ISBN 0-8018-6259-0.
  • Memory and History - Liturgical Time and Historical Time, in: History and Theory, 41 (2002 ), pp. 149 - 162
  • Practicing History - New Directions in Historical Writing After the Linguistic Turn, New York 2005 ISBN 0415341078, among others.