The Good Wife's Guide (Le Menagier de Paris)

Paperback (Print)
Rent from
(Save 59%)
Est. Return Date: 07/24/2015
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 34%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $12.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 47%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (9) from $12.99   
  • New (3) from $19.17   
  • Used (6) from $12.99   


In the closing years of the fourteenth century, an anonymous French writer compiled a book addressed to a fifteen-year-old bride, narrated in the voice of her husband, a wealthy, aging Parisian. The book was designed to teach this young wife the moral attributes, duties, and conduct befitting a woman of her station in society, in the almost certain event of her widowhood and subsequent remarriage. The work also provides a rich assembly of practical materials for the wife's use and for her household, including treatises on gardening and shopping, tips on choosing servants, directions on the medical care of horses and the training of hawks, plus menus for elaborate feasts, and more than 380 recipes.

The Good Wife's Guide is the first complete modern English translation of this important medieval text also known as Le Ménagier de Paris (the Parisian household book), a work long recognized for its unique insights into the domestic life of the bourgeoisie during the later Middle Ages. The Good Wife's Guide, expertly rendered into modern English by Gina L. Greco and Christine M. Rose, is accompanied by an informative critical introduction setting the work in its proper medieval context as a conduct manual. This edition presents the book in its entirety, as it must have existed for its earliest readers.

The Guide is now a treasure for the classroom, appealing to anyone studying medieval literature or history or considering the complex lives of medieval women. It illuminates the milieu and composition process of medieval authors and will in turn fascinate cooking or horticulture enthusiasts. The work illustrates how a (perhaps fictional) Parisian householder of the late fourteenth century might well have trained his wife so that her behavior could reflect honorably on him and enhance his reputation.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A cookbook section contains over 350 recipes, and if many of them are taken from authorities such as the royal chef Taillevent, the author is quite opinionated about what works and what doesn't; he improves some recipes and offers others that seem to be his own. No man before or since has known more about running an affluent household, from keeping vermin out of linen to shopping in the market to caring for hunting hawks. The work has a peculiar tone, bossy yet tender, even elegiac. In their introduction the translators emphasize the husband's firm desire to subordinate his wife, but acknowledge that they found the book more appealing than they had originally expected."—Paul Freedman, Times Literary Supplement, 29 May 2009

"This new—and first complete—English translation of the Ménagier de Paris makes available to a broad audience one of the key texts for our understanding of late medieval mentalities. Its lively language, excellent introduction, and copious notes make this guide to good living in every sense (from moral instruction to recipes for delicious meals) useful to students, scholars, and anyone interested in medieval culture."—Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski, University of Pittsburgh

"Gina L. Greco and Christine M. Rose bring to The Good Wife's Guide well-translated and dignified prose, intelligent commentary, and up-to-date scholarship. They have done a service to all those who teach medieval literature, women's literature, gender studies, and late medieval culture by having gracefully and carefully prepared a text of such significance and interest."—Lynn Staley, Harrington and Shirley Drake Professor of the Humanities and Medieval and Renaissance Studies in the Department of English, Colgate University

"In a new, highly readable, and lively translation of an important medieval document, Gina L. Greco and Christine M. Rose have done a wonderful job of maintaining the integrity of the original text while rendering it into colloquial English. As a result, The Good Wife's Guide is eminently teachable. It is a cultural artifact in its own right, one that compiles a wide range of very different kinds of material, from moral exhortations to stories to practical instructions on household topics such as gardening and hawking to recipes-all brought together for a very specific purpose. It offers great insight into how both medieval books and households were put together."—Laurie A. Finke, Kenyon College

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801474743
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 1,266,187
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction. Maid to Order: The Good Wife of Paris
The Book: Backgrounds, Narrator, Genre, Sources
Contexts: Conduct Books and Household Books
Glossing the Tale of Griselda: The Model Wife and Marriage in Le Ménagier de Paris
Translation Protocols

The Good Wife's Guide: The English Text of Le Ménagier de Paris
Introductory Note to Articles 1.1-1.3
Prayers and Orderly Dress (1.1)
Behavior and Attire in Public (1.2)
The Mass, Confession, the Vices and Virtues (1.3)
On Chastity (1.4)
Devotion to Your Husband (1.5)
Obedience (including the Story of Griselda) (1.6)
The Care of the Husband's Person (1.7)
The Husband's Secrets (1.8)
Introductory Note to Article 1.9
Providing Your Husband with Good Counsel (including the Story of Melibee) (1.9)
Introductory Note to Article 2.1
Le Chemin de povreté et de richesse (2.1)
Horticulture (2.2) 2
Choosing and Caring for Servants and Horses (2.3)
Introductory Note to Article 3.2
Hawking Treatise (3.2)
Menus (2.4)
Recipes (2.5)

Glossary of Culinary Terms

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)