Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The Book of Chivalry of Geoffroi De Charny: Text, Context and Translation

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The Book of Chivalry of Geoffroi De Charny: Text, Context and Translation

Article excerpt

The Book of Chivalry of Geoffroi de Charny: Text, Context and Translation, ed. Richard W. Kaeuper and Elspeth Kennedy, The Middle Ages Series (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996). x + 236 pp. ISBN 0-8122-1579-6. L16.95.

Geoffroi de Charny was viewed by his contemporaries as the epitome of chivalrous conduct and as a man of exemplary piety. His Livre de chevalerie displays these attributes in full, but has hitherto only been available to scholars via the text incorporated within the Belgian Royal Academy's edition of Jean Froissart's Chroniques (1877). This new edition is the fruit of an inspired partnership bringing together an acknowledged authority on the ideological context for the conduct of warfare in later medieval Europe, and one of the world's foremost Arthurian scholars, whose edition of the non-cyclic Lancelot do Lac and associated critical publications underpin an impressive editorial introduction to the present volume. The editors' aim is `to present Charny to a wide range of readers'; their chosen approach goes a long way towards achieving it. As the preface makes clear, the Livre offers readers 'a rich source for investigating questions about the political, military, religious, and social history of the later Middle Ages'. An opening section by Richard Kaeuper sets forth the cultural context and includes a well-documented `career biography' likely to appeal to scholars of the Turin Shroud (of which Charny is thought to be the first attested owner) as much as to military historians. Elspeth Kennedy then establishes the French text, and provides a painstakingly accurate but commendably elegant translation into English, underpinned by her lifelong commitment to the prose of thirteenth- and fourteenth-century France. …

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