had there been any Middle Ages

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Senior Member
Ukrainian & Russian
And that region, which until then had seemed to me similar in nature to the immemorial, still contemporaneous great phenomena of geology—and just as completely outside human history as the Ocean itself or the Great Bear, with those wild fishermen for whom no more than for the whales had there been any Middle Ages—it had been a great delight for me to see it suddenly take its place in the sequence of the centuries, now that it had experienced the Romanesque period, and to know that the Gothic trefoil had come at the proper time to pattern those wild rocks too, like the frail but hardy plants which, when spring comes, spangle here and there the polar snow. And if the Gothic brought to those places and to those men a definition which they lacked, they too conferred one upon it in return. I tried to picture how those fishermen had lived, the timid and unsuspected attempt at social relations which they had made there, during the Middle Ages, clustered on a point along the shores of hell, at the foot of the cliffs of death; and the Gothic seemed to me more alive now that, having separated it from the towns in which until then I had always imagined it, I could see how, in one particular case, on those wild rocks, it had germinated and flowered into a delicate steeple.
(The Way by Swann's; M. Proust)

Would you be so kind as to tell me what exactly it is supposed to mean?

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