Knights, those larger-than-life figures who dominated the medieval world, have inspired writers and artists through the centuries. What emerges from their portrayals, and from historians as well, is a contradictory figure who still fascinates and intrigues. Were knights, for
instance, all spotless heroes of a glorious age of chivalry and romance? Or were they unscrupulous opportunists, who on occasion, were little better than bandits in their lust for land and loot?
In this highly original and intriguing study, Andr�a Hopkins examines the way in which writers and chroniclers of the times portrayed knighthood, contrasting this with the way real-life knights lived. One of her more surprising and exciting revelations is just how deeply real knights were influenced by their fictional counterparts (such as Sir Lancelot), and how their ambitions and achievements were shaped by their idea of virtuous knightly behavior.
What emerges is an absorbing adventure story, which starts with the origin of knighthood, explaining why and where the notion of the knightly class came about. Andrea Hopkins examines the role of knights in peace and war, with gripping accounts of the battles they fought, how they exerted their power, and of their frequent clashes with authority in the form of the medieval monarchs and the church which many of them had sworn to defend.
Throughout, vivid illustrations, many in full color, help to create the authentic atmosphere of the age. In addition, special features focus on such key topics as heraldry, the tournament, knightly orders, the castle, and the development of armor. The careers of celebrated individual knights are also examined. Finally, Andr�a Hopkins charts the decline of knights as the dominant political and military force, and assesses their lasting contributions to our cultural heritage. The result is a highly informative and readable study of a fascinating and very different age and the elite group of men that shaped it.
Andrea Hopkins read English at Oxford University 1977-1980. She later received her doctorate for a thesis on The Theme of Penitence in "Guy of Warwick", "Sir Ysumbras","Sir Gowther" and "Robert of Sicily". Her scholarly study of medieval penitential romances, The Sinful Knights, was published by Oxford University Press in 1990. Her keen interest in medieval history, literature, art, and culture is also shown in the "medieval" illuminated letters she creates, many of which have appeared in major exhibitions.
|Product dimensions:||9.08(w) x 11.40(h) x 0.55(d)|