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Chivalry [Paperback]

Maurice Keen
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 21.95 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

Feb. 11 2005 Yale Nota Bene
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

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Review

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


““Original [and] beguiling.”—Fiona MacCarthy, Times (London)


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

About the Author

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.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A great definition of chivalry Nov. 14 2003
Format:Paperback
When most of us think of chivalry, an image of an errant knight off to rescue a damsel in distress is usually the first thing that comes to mind. This is a romanticized image, of course, and, though not wholly inaccurate, does represent at least a part of the concept of chivalry. But there is so much more to it. In essence (according to Keen), chivalry was an entire value system that governed the lives of the whole noble class in medieval Europe. It focused around three main facets of life: war, noble standing, and religion.
Keen does a wonderful job in this book of analyzing chivalry based on first-hand accounts--poems, literature, and chivalric handbooks from the high and late Middle Ages. His explanation of chivalry is detailed and thorough, and presents a number of arguments that most people would not consider when thinking about the chivalric code. The most obvious elements are treated--the tournament, the crusades, heraldry, etc--and many not so obvious subjects are given attention as well.

Overall, this book is pretty well-written. It serves as a very valuable resource for any student of the Middle Ages, or as a good introduction to the practice of chivalry to the casual student.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A MAGNIFICENT BOOK! April 6 2000
Format:Paperback
This solid volume is one of the best works on the complex institutions of chivalry and knighthood that I at least have ever seen. It is a very erudite work crammed with interesting information and written in an intelligent but readable style. Mr. Keen presents an argument for the reality of chivalric values that seems very convincing and well- researched. If you are at all interested in knighthood or European history, buy this book!
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5.0 out of 5 stars *The* book on this subject July 22 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Noted Oxford historian Maurice Keen's "Chivalry" is probably the best place to start and finish on the subject of chivalry. Accessible for both students and those that would continue their studies more leisurely, Prof. Keen's work is an intersting read, very knowledgable, and wideranging. Simply put, it is a must if you are interested in the real history of the subject and not the doggerel that Hollywood shovels our way.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best introduction into Chivalry you can get Oct. 5 2001
Format:Paperback
This book delivers a very thorough description of chivalry, beginning with a very good explanation how and when chivalry started. It also delivers a superb definition about what chivalry reaaly is, or what it was supposed to be. Alas, the only thing missing is more pictures - then it would be the definite book about chivalry. As it is now, it is "only" the best introduction to the matter you can possibly get.
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Format:Paperback
Like all of Maurice Keen's books, this one is insightful, well-written, and based on thorough scholarship. This is the place to start a study of the subject.
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