Norman F. Cantor, 74, a prominent historian of the Middle Ages, died Sept. 18, 2004, in Miami. The cause was heart failure.

A master of fluent, graceful prose, Norman's books included The Civilization of the Middle Ages, continuously in print since 1963. Other studies focused on Jewish history, the Black Death, and the invention of the Middle Ages as it is conceived today by modern historians. Among these, he cited J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, whose visions of medieval moral order served as a beacon during the dark days of World War II.

Born in Winnipeg, Canada, Norman graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1951. He then came to Princeton to earn a master's in history. After a year at Oxford as a Rhodes scholar, he returned to Princeton to earn a Ph.D. Over the course of his career, he taught at Columbia, Brandeis, SUNY Binghamton, and the University of Chicago. He served as dean of the faculty of the College of Arts and Science at New York University from 1978-81, retiring as professor emeritus in 1999.

Norman is survived by his wife, Mindy; his daughter, Judy; his son, Howard; and a grandson.

Class Year: 
Graduate Class of 1957