Norman F. Cantor, 74; Middle Ages Professor, Scholar and Author

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Norman Frank Cantor, 74, an American medievalist whose books included “Civilization of the Middle Ages” and “Inventing the Middle Ages,” died of heart failure Saturday at his home in Miami.

Cantor was known for a fluid style of writing that made his books accessible to the general public as well as students.

His recent books include “In the Wake of the Plague” in 2002 and “The Last Knight: The Twilight of the Middle Ages and the Birth of the Modern Era,” published earlier this year.

He had completed “Alexander the Great,” scheduled to be released next year.

A native of Winnipeg, Canada, Cantor was educated at the University of Manitoba and later immigrated to the U.S., where he earned master’s and doctoral degrees from Princeton University.


He also was a Rhodes scholar.

Cantor joined Columbia University in 1960 and became a full professor of history, sociology and comparative literature.

He also taught at Brandeis University, the State University of New York at Binghamton and the University of Chicago before moving permanently to New York University in 1978.

He began as dean of the College of Arts and Science faculty and taught there until his retirement in 1999.