The Indian Summer of English Chivalry: Studies in the Decline and Transformation of Chivalric Idealism

The Indian Summer of English Chivalry: Studies in the Decline and Transformation of Chivalric Idealism

The Indian Summer of English Chivalry: Studies in the Decline and Transformation of Chivalric Idealism

The Indian Summer of English Chivalry: Studies in the Decline and Transformation of Chivalric Idealism

Excerpt

The studies contained in this book are, in a sense, a byproduct. In the course of a somewhat broader investigation of social and political attitudes in late medieval and early Renaissance England, I became more and more aware that, in the picture we have of the English mind during that transitional era, indistinct enough at best, there was one fairly large area in which the outlines were especially shadowy. It affected the thought of the governing class, from the king to the lowest armiger, then in the process of adjusting itself to broadening responsibilities in an increasingly complex society. Those adjustments involved the scheme of values which, though never in serious conflict with the teachings of the church and, in fact, generally sanctioned by them, reached nevertheless well beyond them to serve as a guide to the secular life of the knight or gentleman and even at times to the policies of government. It all somehow turned on the problem of chivalry. Yet in what ways, and to what extent? What, indeed, constituted the chivalric way of looking at things? These were questions for which there seemed to be no ready-made answer. And so I decided to re-examine the scattered and often scanty materials relating to the subject in the hope of filling in, if only sketchily, the missing part of the picture. If the results of my investigation will be of help to others in answering similar questions I shall feel that my efforts are justified. Meanwhile the quest has been exciting.

For providing valuable time in which to pursue this research I am indebted to the Ford Foundation's Fund for the Advancement of Education. I am also indebted to the Research Council of Duke University for financial assistance in preparing the manuscript and more especially, in defraying the . . .

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