A change which has been coming over historical opinion within my own lifetime … is temperately summed up by Professor Seznec in the words: “As the Middle Ages and the Renaissance come to be better known, the traditional antithesis between them grows less marked.” Some scholars might go further than Professor Seznec, but very few, I believe, would now oppose him. If we are sometimes unconscious of the change, that is not because we have not shared it but because it has been gradual and imperceptible. We recognize it most clearly if we are suddenly brought face to face with the old view in its full vigour. A good experiment is to re-read the first chapter of J. M. Berdan’s Early Tudor Poetry. It is still in many ways a useful book; but it is now difficult to read that chapter without a smile. We begin with twenty-nine pages (and they contain several misstatements) of unrelieved gloom about grossness, superstition, and cruelty to children, and on the twenty-ninth comes the sentence, “The first rift in this darkness is the Copernican doctrine”; as if a new hypothesis in astronomy would naturally make a man stop hitting his daughter about the head.
C. S. Lewis, “De Descriptione Temporum” (1954)