Chretien de Troyes was France's great medieval poet—inventor of the genre of courtly romance and popularizer of the Arthurian legend. The forty-four surviving manuscripts of his work (ten of them illuminated) pose a number of questions about who used these books and in what way. In Sealed in Parchment, Sandra Hindman scrutinizes both text and images to reveal what the manuscripts can tell us about medieval society and politics.
Hindman (art history, Northwestern U.) examines the text and illuminations in the manuscripts of romances by the 12th-century French writer Chretien for clues about his society and politics. She finds evidence of the aristocracy of northern France trying to find a new identity under the newly centralized monarchy, and of an uneasy coexistence between oral and literate cultures. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)