Our front cover, reproduced from an illuminated 13th century manuscript in the Pierpont Morgan Library, shows a medieval scribe taking dictation. The upper figures represent Blanche of Castile (1187-1252), widow of Louis VIII, and her son Louis IX (1226-1270). The presence of Blanche and Louis we may interpret, perhaps, as a graceful compliment to these monarchs. During their two reigns flourished a period of brilliant cultural development, in philosophy, literature, and art, a culture in which Gothic cathedrals represent perhaps the greatest achievement, Sainte Chapelle in Paris perhaps the most exquisite single structure. And in this culture the writing of books, although less spectacular, also flourished.
In any period of intellectual or spiritual flowering, the attitude of the ruling powers plays an important part. When we speak of powers, however, we do not have in mind merely kings and queens. We must include dukes and barons, popes and bishops, condottieri