Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Marco Polo: Le Devisement Du Monde

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Marco Polo: Le Devisement Du Monde

Article excerpt

Marco Polo: Le Devisement du monde, ed. and dir. Philippe Ménard, 6 vols, Textes littéraires français (Geneva: Droz, 2001-9), VI: Livre d'Ynde: Retour vers l'Ocädent, ed. Dominique Boutet, Thierry Delcourt, and Daniele James-Raoul (Geneva: Droz, 2009). cxxxviii + 404 pp. ISBN 978-2-600-01249-2. euro31.88. With this volume, the sixth and last in die collective edition directed, so energetically and so successfully, by Philippe Ménard, we reach the end of Marco Polo's Devisement. Having left China in around 1291, Marco finally reached Venice in 1 295; his journey, the precise itinerary of which is rather unclear, gives him the opportunity to describe the east and west coasts of India and some of the Indonesian islands, and also to record what he heard about Zanzibar, Aden, or Oman. As usual, Marco has an eye for trade: as well as quite fantastical stories about distant and unseen lands (the elephant-carrying griffons of Mogadishu, for instance), he notes, prosaically, details of crops and plants and spices, rubies from Ceylon, diamonds from India. The manuscript tradition for this section of the text, as indeed for the whole of the Devisement, is extremely complex: the editors discuss it at considerable, and useful, length, and our own approach to its diversities is greatly helped by a generous list of variants (in pages), and by the scrupulous footnotes to die text proper. …

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