Chivalry

Maurice Keen

View Inside Price: $20.00


February 11, 2005
352 pages, 5 x 7.75
35 b/w + 18 color illus.
ISBN: 9780300107678
Paper

Chivalry—with its pageants, heraldry, and knights in shining armor—was a social ideal that had a profound influence on the history of early modern Europe. In this eloquent and richly detailed book, a leading medieval historian discusses the complex reality of chivalry: its secular foundations, the effects of the Crusades, the literature of knighthood, and its ethos of the social and moral obligations of nobility.
“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
“An elegantly written, important book.”—Carolly Erickson, Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Splendid. . . . Keen is exemplary in the use he makes of many kinds of medieval literature, epic and lyric poetry, family and military histories, didactic treatises, translations into the vernacular of books of the Bible and of works from ancient Rome.”—R.C. Smail, New York Review of Books
“Original [and] beguiling.”—Fiona MacCarthy, Times (London)
“A most readable and comprehensive survey: stimulating, informative, a splendid creation of context.”—Nicholas Orme, Times Higher Education Supplement
“All historians of Western society . . . will do well to refer to this book.”—Georges Duby, Times Literary Supplement

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.

"A refreshingly new approach to the subject, reinterprets the evidence and brings chivalry alive in the context of the times during which it flourished."—Rodney Dennys, Antiquaries Journal

"A work that redefined the way we look at the secular values of the medieval ruling elites."—Tony Pollard, BBC History Magazine

"Keen's eminently readable study of the crucial years between 1100 and 1500 not only furnishes us with a colorful, sharply detailed portrait of a way of life, but also provides us with an understanding of how chivalric ideals and practices helped meet the political, social, and economic needs of the time."—Christian Science Monitor

"Welcome and important. . . .  A splendid book written with great enthusiasm, easy to read, and reflecting a wide scholarship."—Christopher Allmand, Historical Review

"A splendid study which brings to life this long-gone age."—Edward A. Gosselin, History Teacher

"The author displays masterful control of primary sources and writes with conviction and style. Keen deserves great credit not only for the wealth of new material and perspectives which he introduces into an old question, but also for his clear and frank exposition of his central theses."—Gerald A. Bond, Journal of the American Academy of Religion

“This important new historical synthesis offers a major reinterpretation of the phenomenon (of chivalry). . . .Erudite yet richly evocative.”—Library Journal

“An elegantly written, important book.”—Carolly Erickson, Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Clearly written and engaging. . . .  The author has intelligent and useful things to say throughout."—John F. Benton, Manuscripta

“Splendid. . . .The author has the gift, rare among the erudite, of making his subject intelligible and interesting to the lay, as well as to the academic, reader. . . .Keen is exemplary in the use he makes of many kinds of medieval literature, epic and lyric poetry, family and military histories, didactic treatises, translations into the vernacular of books of the Bible and of works from ancient Rome.”—R.C. Smail, New York Review of Books

“This is a rich book, making effective use of all sorts of documents and illustrations. Mr 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

Chivalry is the work of a master. Comprehensive in its scope, it covers four centuries of European history.”—Richard C. McCoy, Renaissance Quarterly

"Keen's acute scholarship and his synthetic grasp have firmly established the social and cultural importance of chivalry from 11— to 1500."—Richard H. Jones, Speculum—A Journal of Medieval Studies

“Scholarly, original, beguiling.”—Fiona MacCarthy, The Times (London)

“A most readable and comprehensive survey:  stimulating, informative, a splendid creation of context.”—Nicholas Orme, Times Higher Education Supplement

“All historians of Western society, even of periods close to our own, will do well to refer to this book.”—Georges Duby, Times Literary Supplement

"[Keen's] exploration of the actual complex reality of chivalry, its vast literature and the traditions it imposed on European nobility is the last word on a seductive subject."—Washington Post

"[Chivalry] demands attention from anyone with a professional interest in medieval history or romance. . . . The stylish, well-structured chapters draw the reader into a rewarding, multi-faceted investigation. . . . The book offers a wealth of knowledge also on heraldry, armour, weapons, feasting, and vows."—Cheryl Taylor, Parergon

"A broad, deep, and learned study. . . . [Keen's] command of primary sources is exceptional and his judgment is sound. a first-rate general treatment for scholars and advanced students."—Kirkus Reviews

"Keen skillfully cuts through the mythology to arrive at a definition and a history of an idea that shaped the Middle Ages and survived, in some form, as late as World War I."—Jonathan Rose, Wall Street Journal

"Chivalry, the behavior and ideology associated with knighthood, was a central element in medieval European culture and remains an object of scholarly interest. this important new historical synthesis offers a major interpretation of the phenomenon. . . . This erudite yet richly evocative work is recommended to college and large public libraries"—Library Journal

"[This book] elucidates admirably the spirit of chivalry in its maturity and in its shaping of the ways in which we represent to ourselves the human condition. All historians of Western society, even of periods close to our own, will do well to refer to it."—Georges Duby, The Times Literary Supplement

"For those interested in Western civilization—and who is not?—this book will remain a standard for some time to come."—Lowrie J. Daly, America

"Dr. Keen's book is a brilliantly successful attempt to describe and explain this secular erudition. In doing justice to the knights, he rescues them from their detractors, Medieval and modern."—Stuart Airlie, The London Review of Books

"A very welcome addition to the every growing body of scholarly writing on chivalry. It is a historian's book. . . . It is a book that deals with sources and subject matter of special interest to theologians, lawyers, and students of literature. . . . Good judgment, wide research, skilled weaving of diverse data into a most informative and enjoyable monograph, give us what the author has taught us to expect of him."—Michael R. Powicke, Albion

"Maurice Keen's Chivalry is the work of a master. Comprehensive in its scope, it covers four centuries of European history. . . . His book presents its readers with an invaluable summary of its scholarly resources and a definitive reinterpretation of its subject."—Richard C. McCoy, Renaissance Quarterly

"Delightful. . . . Keen is one of those splendid British writers who manage to entertain as he informs. His learning is formidable, so there is no aspect of chivalry from its secular nature, to its various orders, styles and national differences, that is neglected"—Alden Whitman, Newsday

Winner of the 1984 Wolfson History Prize given by the Wolfson Foundation