- History of the Goths (review)
- Australian and New Zealand Association of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (Inc.)
- Volume 9, Number 2, December 1991
- p. p. 183
- View Citation
Short Notices 183 Stechow, Wolfgang, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, concise edition, London, Thames and Hudson, 1990; cloth; pp. 127; 40 colour plates, 75 figures; R.R.P. AUS$39.95. This is what the publisher calls a 'concise' edition: a reissue on coated paper without the colour plates being tipped-in, of the book originally published in the 'Library of Great Painters' in 1969/70. Few series of popular monographs o<" great painters have been so long-lived as this one, no doubt because they successfully combine an appeal to a popular audience with scholarly rigour. Some have become classics and Stechow's Bruegel deserves to be one of these. Stechow, who died not long after the book was originally published, had a long and illustrious career in Germany and America which culminated in his Dutch landscape painting ofthe seventeenth century. The Bruegel book allowed him to make some general observations about an artist whose contribution to the subject of his major work was fundamental, but who yet remained outside its scope. It is not therefore surprising, that the account of Bruegel's landscapes is more informative than in comparable books. It includes the Vienna Storm at Sea, now more usually given to Joos de Momper. The brevity of the entries on each of the 40, often harsh, colour plates belies the informativeness of interpretations which they contain, interpretations controlled by the message of tolerance and humility of the Princes Gate Christ and the Adulteress which for Stechow, lay at the core of Bruegel's view of the nature of man. They are supported by an unusually useful group of comparative illustrations. This remains the best short introduction to Bruegel. David R. Marshall Department of Fine Arts University of Melbourne Wolfram, Herwig, History of the Goths, trans. T. J. Dunlap, rpt, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1990; pp. xii, 613; 8 maps, R.R.P. US$16.95. By now Wolfram's History ofthe Goths requires no explanation or comment. It has already established itself as a classic although the author's continued ability to produce ever-improved versions of the book keeps on putting previous editions in jeopardy. The original German edition appeared in 1979. A n Italian translation in 1985 provided the opportunity for extensive revisions and updating. Then followed a second German edition (from which the current English translation is made) and recently there has appeared a third completely revised German edition, Die Goten von den Anfdngen bis zur Mine des sechsten Jahrhunderts (Munich, Beck, 1990). That such a major piece of scholarship can be revised and updated so regularly is a reflection of the dynamic state of Gothic studies on all fronts: literary, linguistic, anthropological and especially 184 Short Notices archaeological. For example, Wolfram has absorbed, perhaps too uncritically, the controversial thesis of Walter Goffart on the Gothic settlements in Roman territory in Barbarians and Romans (1980). Wolfram's claim to fame is his ability to master, then synthesize into an intelligible whole, the enormously diverse work on the history and culture of the Goths. His history covers a vast extent. It is very learned and detailed but wellorganized and readable with helpful notes, diagrams, maps and bibliography. This paperback English translation, afineaccomplishment in itself, is especially to be welcomed since it opens up to a wider circle, especially undergraduate students, the riches of Wolfram's history. It makes easier the challenge of teaching and learning about the Goths, a task soon to be made easier still with the appearance of Peter Heather's major book on the Goths (Oxford) and the collection of documents in translation by Peter Heather and John Matthews, The Goths in the Fourth Century (Liverpool University Press). Brian Croke Sydney ...