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Chivalry Paperback – September 10, 1986


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (September 10, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300033605
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300033601
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,257,761 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By bixodoido on November 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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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 22, 1999
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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A. Tegtmeier VINE VOICE on October 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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Prof. Cliff Rogers on October 28, 1999
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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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By S. Pactor VINE VOICE on September 14, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Keen does an outstanding job of exploring the concept of "chivalry" in the middle ages. To a degree, this book is essential for a well rounded understanding of the era (it is included on Cantor's Canon of 150 books about the middle ages that every student should read). On the other hand, I'm not convinced that this book doesn't overlap, to a significant degree, with volume two of Marc Bloch's "Feudal Society". Nor, for that matter, was I particularly impressed with the writing style. In fact, I would call this book a snoozer, and I'm not using that term lightly.

Keen's basic analysis revolves around three interrelated aspects/facets of chivalry: social, military and ecclesiastical. So, if someone asks you "What's Chivalry?" you can feel pretty save by answering, "it was a value held by segments of the land owning classes in europe during the middle ages. it had different aspects that had various degrees of importance over the time period in question. These aspects include social, military and ecclesiastical."

Anything more then that and you'll actually have to read the book. One fact that suprised me was the lengths to which the church went to to discourage tournaments.
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