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Norman Frank Cantor

CANTOR, NORMAN FRANK (1929–2004), medieval historian. Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Cantor graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1951, after which he moved to the U.S. He received a master's degree and Ph.D. from Princeton University and became a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. He began his teaching career at Princeton in 1955, and after appointments at Johns Hopkins and Columbia became professor at Brandeis University in the mid-1960s. He served as vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Illinois. In 1978 he joined New York University as dean of the College of Arts and Science faculty, until 1981. He taught there as a professor emeritus in history, sociology, and comparative literature until his retirement in 1999. He was also a Porter Ogden Jacobus Fellow at Princeton University and a Fulbright Professor at Tel Aviv University. He served as editor of the Encyclopaedia of the Middle Ages (1999).

Cantor published Church, Kingship, and Lay Investiture in England, 1089–1135 (1958). In 1963 he published Medieval History: the Life and Death of a Civilization, a general introduction to the Middle Ages that was widely used as a college textbook and was also a main selection of the History Book Club for 19 years. In print for 28 years, it was updated and expanded by Cantor in 1991 and reissued as The Civilization of the Middle Ages. It is considered one of the most authoritative introductions to medieval studies.

Other books by Cantor include How to Study History (1967); The English: A History of Politics and Society to 1760 (1967); Renaissance Thought: Dante & Machiavelli (1969); Western Civilization: Its Genesis and Destiny (1970); The Age of Protest (1971); Perspectives on the European Past: Conversations with Historians (1971); The Medieval Reader (1974); Inventing the Middle Ages (1991); Medieval Lives: Eight Charismatic Men and Women of the Middle Ages (1995); The Sacred Chain: The History of the Jews (1995); The Jewish Experience: An Illustrated History of Jewish Culture and Society Including Short Stories, Essays, Novels, Biographies, Memoirs and Other First-Person Accounts (1996); The American Century: Varieties of Culture in Modern Times (1997); In the Wake of the Plague (2001); Inventing Norman Cantor: Confessions of a Mediaevalist (2002); The Last Knight: The Twilight of the Middle Ages and the Birth of the Modern Era (2004); Antiquity: From the Birth of Sumerian Civilization to the Fall of the Roman Empire (2004); Alexander the Great: Journey to the End of the Earth (Eminent Lives) (2005).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.