In this ground-breaking work, Norman Cantor explains how our current notion of the Middle Ageswith its vivid images of wars, tournaments, plagues, saints and kings, knights and ladieswas born in the twentieth century. The medieval world was not simply excavated through systematic research. It had to be conceptually created: it had to be invented, and this is the story of that invention. Cantor focuses on the lives and works of twenty of the great medievalists of this century, demonstrating how the events of their lives, and their spiritual and emotional outlooks, influenced their interpretations of the Middle Ages. He makes their scholarship an intensely personal and passionate exercise, full of color and controversy, displaying the strong personalities and creative minds that brought new insights about the past.