The Portable Medieval Reader

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In their introduction to this anthology, James Bruce Ross and Mary Martin McLaughlin remind us that "no area of the past is dead if we are alive to it. The variety, the complexity, the sheer humanity of the middle ages live most meaningfully in their own authentic voices." The Portable Medieval Reader assembles an entire chorus of those voices—of kings, warriors, prelates, merchants, artisans, chroniclers, and scholars—that together convey a lively, intimate impression of a ...

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The Portable Medieval Reader

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In their introduction to this anthology, James Bruce Ross and Mary Martin McLaughlin remind us that "no area of the past is dead if we are alive to it. The variety, the complexity, the sheer humanity of the middle ages live most meaningfully in their own authentic voices." The Portable Medieval Reader assembles an entire chorus of those voices—of kings, warriors, prelates, merchants, artisans, chroniclers, and scholars—that together convey a lively, intimate impression of a world that might otherwise seem immeasurably alien.

All the aspects and strata of medieval society are represented here: the life of monasteries and colleges, the codes of knigthood, the labor of peasants and the privileges of kings. There are contemporary accounts of the persecution of Jews and heretics, of the Crusades in the Holy Land, of courtly pageants, popular uprisings, and the first trade missions to Cathay. We find Chaucer, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Saint Francis of Assisi, Thomas Aquinas and Abelard alongside a host of lesser-known writers, discoursing on all the arts, knowledge and speculation of their time. The result, according to the Columbia Record, is a broad and eminetly readable "cross section of source history and rich and varied as a stained glass window."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140150469
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 5/28/1977
  • Series: Portable Library Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 704
  • Sales rank: 280,126
  • Product dimensions: 5.14 (w) x 8.04 (h) x 1.26 (d)

Table of Contents

Chronological Table
Suggestions for Further Reading
Part One: The Body Social The Body Social - John of Salisbury
The Orders of Men

The Monastic Ideal - Peter Damiani
The Cistercian Order - William of Malmesbury
How the Friars Came to Germany - Jordan of Giano
A Preacher and His Miracles - Salimbene
Monastic Reform in the Fifteenth Century - John Busch
Archibishop Baldwin of Canterbury - Giraldus Cambrensis
A Model Parish Priest: St. Gilbert of Sempringham - John Capgrave
An Attempt to Enforce Clerical Celibacy - Ordericus Vitalis
The Habits of Priests in Normandy - Odo of Rigaud
Statutes for a College - Robert de Sorbonne
How the Student Should Behave - John of Garland

The Function of Knighthood - John of Salisbury
The Chivalric Ideal - Díaz de Gámez
The Murder of a Feudal Lord - Galbert of Bruges
The Battle of Poitiers - Geoffrey le Baker
A Knight-Errant of the Fifteenth Century - Jörg von Ehingen
The Rules of Courtly Love - Andreas Capellanus
A Noble Household - Jean Froissart
Offices in a Noble Household - John Russell
Private Lives of the English Gentry - Stonor Letters

The Feet of the Commonwealth - John of Salisbury
The Duties of Manorial Officers - Seneschaucie
The Peasant's Life - William Langland
The Making of a Merchant: St. Godric of Finchale - Reginald of Durham
Advice to a Norweigian Merchant - The King's Mirror
The Successful Surgeon - John Arderne
The Good Wife - The Goodman of Paris
Life in London - Memorials of London
Fashions in Italy - Sacchetti

Papal Protection of the Jews - Pope Gregory X
The Cremation of the Strasbourg Jewry - Jacob von Königshofen
Conflict, Protest, and Catastrophe
A Revolt of the Commons in London - Roger of Wendover
The Peasants' Revolt in England - Anonimalle Chronicle
My Brother Man - Walther von der Vogelweide
Piers Plowman's Protest - William Langland
The Waldensian Heretics - Bernard Gui
The Impact of the Black Death - Henry Knighton
Paris during the Hundred Years' War - Journal d'un bourgeois
Part Two: The Christian Commonwealth The Spiritual Authority
The Superiority of the Spiritual Authority - Pope Bonfiace VIII
The Election and Coronation of a Pope - Adam of Usk
The Creation of Cardinals - Pope Pius II
The Fourth Lateran Council - Roger of Wendover
A French Provincial Synod - Odo of Rigaud
Letter to King Henry II - Thomas Becket
The Temporal Authorities
The Nature of a True Prince - John of Salisbury
The Independence of the Temporal Authority - Frederick Barbarossa
The Election and Coronation of an Emperor - Otto of Freising
A German Poet's Attack on the Papacy - Walther von der Vogelweide
The Seven Electors - Adam of Usk
A Picture of a Good Feudal King: Louis VI of France - Suger
The Coronation of Richard Lion Heart - Roger of Wendover
The Deposition and Death of Richard II - Adam of Usk
An Imperialist View of the Lombard Communes - Otto of Freising
City Politics in Siena - Pope Pius II
A Petty Italian Tyrant - Anonymous
A Picture of a Tyrant - Pope Pius II
Renewal and Reform
The Recovery of the Holy Land: A Plan of Action and a Scheme for Reform - Pierre du Bois
On the Supremacy of General Councils in Church and Empire - Nicholas of Cusa
A Plea for the Reform of Germany - Die Reformation Kaiser Sigmunds
A Call for Common Action Against the Turks - Pope Pius II
Part Three: The House of Fame Bohemond the Crusader - Anna Comnena
ON the Fame of Abelard - Heloise
Heloise and Abelard: The Later Years - Peter the Venerable
Arnold of Brescia, a Twelfth-Century Revolutionary - John of Salisbury
Arnold of Brescia - Anonymous
His Own Deeds - Giraldus Cambrensis
Henry II, King of England - Giraldus Cambrensis
The Emperor Frederick II - Salimbene
A Saintly King - Jean de Joinville
Pope Boniface VIII - Giovanni Villani
Dante Alighieri - Giovanni Villani
Inscription for a Portrait of Dante - Giovanni Boccaccio
Giotto - Lorenzo Ghiberti
Letter to Posterity - Francesco Petrarca
Charles the Bold and the Fall of the House of Burgundy - Philippe de Commines
Part Four: The World Picture The Frontiers of Europe: Conquest and Assimilation of Peoples
Anglo-Saxons and Normans - William of Malmesbury
The Character and Customs of the Irish - Giraldus Cambrensis
The Conversion and Subjugation of the Slavs - Helmold
The German Push to the East - Ordensritter und Kirchenfürsten
The Near East: Pilgrimage and Crusade
The Great German Pilgrimage - Lambert of Hersfeld
The First Contact of Crusaders and Turks - Histoire anonyme de la première croisade
A Greek View of the Crusaders - Anna Comnena
An Arab Opinion of the Crusaders - Usamah
A Crusader's Criticism of the Greeks - Odo of Deuil
Why the Crusaders Failed - William of Tyre
The Expedition of the Grand Company to Constantinople - Ramón Muntaner
The Far East: Missionaries and Merchants
The Tartar Menace to Europe - Matthew Paris
A Mission to the Great Khan - William of Rubrud
The Labours of a Friar in Cathay - John of Monte Corvino
A Last Mission to Cathay - John of Marignolli
Advice to Merchants Bound for Cathay - Francesco Pegolotti
Henry the Navigator's Search for New Lands - Gomes de Azurara
Part Five: The Noble Castle The Makers
The Vision of Viands - Aniar MacConglinne
Hymn for Good Friday - Peter Abelard
David's Lament for Jonathan - Peter Abelard
Let's Away with Study - Anonymous
When Diana Lighteth - Anonymous
To Bel Vezer on Her Dismissal of the Poet - Bernart de Ventadorn
Dawn Song - Anonymous
The Pretty Fruits of Love - Anonymous
This Song Wants Drink - Anonymous
The Love of Tristan and Iseult - Gottfried von Strassburg
Of the Churl Who Won Paradise - Anonymous
Gather Ye Rosebuds - Romance of the Rose
The Canticle of the Sun - Saint Francis of Assisi
Of the Gentle Heart - Guido Guinicelli
My Lady Looks So Gentle - Dante Alighieri
Beauty in Women - Guido Cavalcanti
Of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the Sinner - Jacopone da Todi
Merciless Beauty: A Triple Roundel - Geoffrey Chaucer
Roundel - Christine de Pisan
Miracles of the Virgin - Johannes Herolt

Of Pictures and Images - William Durandus
How to Represent the Arts and Sciences - Quellenbuch zur Kunstgeschichte
The Identity of Individual Artists - Recueil de textes relatifs à l'histoire de l'architecture
Abbots as Builders - Gesta abbatum sancti Albani
A Painter on His Craft - Cennino Cennini
Nature as the Supreme Authority - Leonardo da Vinci

Celtic Music and Music in General - Giraldus Cambrensis
Two Musical Friars - Salimbene
An Orchestra of the Fourteenth Century - Guillaume de Machaut
The Mirror of History
A Philosophy of History - Otto of Freising
The Problems and Motives of the Historian - William of Tyre
The Seven Liberal Arts
On Study and Teaching - Hugh of St. Victor
The Battle of the Arts - Henri d'Andeli
Rules of the University of Paris - Chartulary of the University of Paris
Fernando of Cordova, the Boy Wonder - Launoy
The Problems of a Christian Humanist - John of Salisbury
The Ancients and the Moderns - Walter Map
A Plea for the Study of Languages - Roger Bacon
Statute of the Council of Vienne on Languages - Chartulary of the University of Paris
An English Humanist - Richard de Bury
In Defence of Liberal Studies - Coluccio Salutati
In Praise of Greek - Leonardo Bruni
The Mirror of Nature
Questions on Nature - Adelard of Bath
Experimental Science - Roger Bacon
The Case of a Woman Doctor in Paris - Chartulary of the University of Paris
The History of Surgery - Gui de Chauliac
The Mirror of Wisdom
The Place of Logic in Philosophy - Peter Abelard
The End of Man - Saint Thomas Aquinas
On Learned Ignorance - Nicholas of Cusa
The Vision of God
The Soul Complains to God - Jacopone da Todi
A Crying Mystic - Margery Kempe
The Vision of God - Nicholas of Cusa


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  • Posted December 3, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    For those serious about understanding the medieval mind

    Some entries in this book make for nothing short of fascinating reading, while some entries are mind-numbingly boring. If you are comfortable scanning parts of your books for essential concepts, not having to read every word to "get it", it is a book that provides keen insight into the minds of the educated during the 11th-14th centuries, and provides no small amount of insight into beliefs and practices of those few hundred years. The book is a compendium of excerpts from the writings of a great many nobles, religious figures, instructors, and other scribes of the period, so it can be enjoyed as a series of essays.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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