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Chivalry Paperback – 1 Jul 1986

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Paperback, 1 Jul 1986
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Product details

  • Paperback: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; New edition edition (1 July 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300033605
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300033601
  • Product Dimensions: 23.3 x 15.5 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,316,078 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

""An elegantly written, important book."--Carolly Erickson, "Los Angeles Times Book Review"


""Original [and] beguiling."--Fiona MacCarthy, "Times" (London)

""Original Ýand¨ beguiling."--Fiona MacCarthy, "Times" (London)

This is a rich book, making effective use of all sorts of documents and illustrations. Keen moves easily across Europe in search of the international spirit of chivalry. . . . The pageantry he presents is colorful and his conclusions uplifting."--David Herlihy, New York Times Book Review

""Original [and] beguiling."--Fiona MacCarthy, Times (London)

"An elegantly written, important book."--Carolly Erickson, Los Angeles Times Book Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Maurice Keen is an Emeritus Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford, where he was tutor in medieval history from 1961 to 2000. He is the author of The Outlaws of Medieval England, The Pelican History of Medieval Europe, England in the Late Middle Ages, and Origins of the English Gentleman. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book, together with The Knight and Chivalry by Richard Barber, seem to me to cover just about every aspect of Chivalry and its importance and integration into the medieval lifestyle. Both books are very comprehensive, very readable and very approachable - both highly recommended for those who seek to understand chivalry and the mental attitudes and way of life of a very important section of medieval society.

While "chivalry" may immediately to the lay person conjure up images of a brute with a moustache in clanky armour trundling around the countryside on a large horse, possibly slaying dragons and saving damsels in distress, there is much much more to the concept of chivalry than that. In fact, chivalry was a lifestyle - a way of life for boys to aspire to, for men to uphold. The warring masses was for long a problem for the Church - one which they attempted to control and channel into righteous war - hence the tie of chivalry with the Crusades which began in an organised Papal call in 1095. Keen identifies three main types of source material for his investigation into chivalry and what it meant - the literary romances, ecclestiastical writings such as those of St Bernard, and the knightly treatises, such as the writings of Ramon Lull.

This book is a very intriguing and interesting look at knights, chivalry, nobility and what these things meant in their real context of medieval Europe; it critiques the views of Huizinga (Autumn of the Middle Ages) that chivalry the late medieval age was divorced from the `harsh realities' of the age. And in my opinion it does that very well, as well as being a fascinating study of the life and times of many of these chivalrous knights - Jacques de Lalaing, Jean de Boucicaut and others.

Thoroughly enjoyable, thoroughly readable; highly recommended.
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By A Customer on 17 Jan. 2003
Format: Paperback
Keen opens this lucid study with an examination of the problems inherent for historians attempting to define and describe cultural phenomena. The elusiveness of the concept of chivalry is tackeled head-on by the Oxford historian, who outlines his sources and their limitations, systematically analyzing the information provided by sources such as romances and clerical writings. Each chapter is a concise yet thorough investigation of various aspects of chivalry, such as the secular origins, the crusades, heraldry, tournaments and historical mythology associated with medieval chivalric culture. By providing detailed accounts of these issues, the book provides a framework for viewing chivalry in a dynamic cultural and historical setting, establishing a credible place for chivalry in the ever-changing 'real' world of the Middle Ages, and not just a reflex of the romance fictions. Keen utilizes a variety of sources, from different periods and from across Europe, illustrating the developments, adaptations and changes over time and between cultures. In his conclusion he outlines the complexity of chivalry as it created a web of mental associations that influenced ideas of honour, love, Christianity, and martial practices which affected every aspect of secular medieval society.
Not only is the book well-argued, it also contains over 50 illustrations (many in colour), a detailed bibliography and notes, and is well-indexed. Keen's comfortable writing style makes the book hugely readable as well as being a good scholarly study and a difinitive guide to an integral part of the Middle Ages.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A little dated in its writing style, but the definitive work on this topic.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
unread but comprehensive & good reference book
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