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Chronicles Paperback – April 27, 1978

ISBN-13: 978-0140442007 ISBN-10: 0140442006 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reprint edition (April 27, 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140442006
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140442007
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #389,431 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jean Froissart was born in Valenciennes (c.1337) and came to England in 1361 where he joined the entourage of Edward III's Queen. While in England he travelled to Scotland and the Welsh Marshes and to the Continent seveal times, finally settling in the Netherlands on the death of the Queen. He finally took holy orders, before returning to England in the court of Richard II, whose downfall he recorded in 1399. His first book of the Chroniques was published in three versions, the second book was completed by 1388 and the third in 1390. He was still working on the fourth when he died c.1410. Geoffrey Brereton edited and translated several modern dramatists including Claudel, Sartre and Adamov, and was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He died in 1979.

Customer Reviews

A great book, and invaluale source for not only the Hundred Years War, but: Spain, Flanders, Medieval life .... BUT !
Sebastian Lopez
My son says it is like abridging Herodotus - not a good idea, and best left to the original reader to decide what is interesting and what isn't.
Peter Hughes
Froissart covers a great deal of ground in his Chronicles, and again, the Penguin edition offers a fine sampling of the much larger work.
Bruce Kendall

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Kendall VINE VOICE on August 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
Jean Froissart (1337-1410) was a contemporary of Chaucer's (it is likely that they met on several occasions, but there is no evidence they were friends. Chaucer is often cited as the leading poet of the 14th Century and Froissart its ranking historian. Geoffry Brereton does an excellent job of rendering an abridged translation of Froissart's multi-volume work. Using the same method employed in the one-volume Penguin edition of Gibbon , many sections of the original text, covering relatively minor events and battles, are rendered in precis form. What we get therefor, is essentially "the best" of Froissart. Brereton also does a good job of providing just the right amount of footnotes and warns the reader when Froissart's account veers from more reliable sources. Froissart was gathering most of his information second-hand, primarily from noblemen of the era who were witnesses to the events, but whose viewpoints may have been colored to some degree by natural biases, and were sometimes themselves reporting information from what they had heard, not necessarily what they had seen.
Froissart delivers a marvelous panorama of a fascinating era. He tells his story from the perspective of the nobility, to whose households he attached himself. He traveled from castle to castle, through several regions of France, Flanders and England, adding to his chronicles as he went. This was a turbulent period, covering a large stretch of the Hundred Year War (between France and England primarily). It begins with the deposition of Edward the II (unforgettably dramatized by Marlowe) and ends with the deposition of Richard II (likewise, by Shakespeare). Sandwiched between these bookends are some of the most unforgettable scenes in written history.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 27, 1998
Format: Paperback
Froissart's Chronicles is probably one of the best works of medieval literature available to the reading public. He recounts numerous events, some of which he witnessed firsthand. Also in his chronicles are stories and legends that he learned of in his many travels through Europe. His writing style is concise and clear, although historians have found that his sources of information are not always the most accurate. Nevertheless, his stories are engaging and insightful and more or less true (he got a lot of information from knights and other people who were eager to be recorded in his chronicles as heroes, and thus gave him bias information). His works include eyewitness information on medieval towns, battle tactics, arms, castles, dress, food, social activities, customs, geography, languages, and science. For anyone who wants to know what the Middle Ages were really like, this book is absolutely necessary to have!
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Sebastian Lopez on October 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
A great book, and invaluale source for not only the Hundred Years War, but: Spain, Flanders, Medieval life ....

BUT ! Some of the best chapters from Frossiart's work have been left out of this edition. Admitedly, the orginal work is to long for a penguin classic, but leaving out the chapters on the Turks, Moors, Muslim pirates, Spain.....

It left me annoyed at the editing rather than Frossiart.

As for Frossiart, a Chronicler of the finest calibre.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Myers VINE VOICE on June 22, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Right. So, this Penguin Classics version of Froissart, the great French historian, is heavily abridged, selectively abridged, I should say, so that it concentrates almost exclusively on France and England during what is now called the Hundred Years War during the Fourteenth Century. I'm with most of the other reviewers here in wishing that it were not abridged, but if one is going to abridge it and to translate it for an English-reading audience, as Geoffrey Brereton has so masterfully done here, this is the way to do it.

The first thing that will probably strike the modern reader of The Chronicles is the aristocratic tone of it and the long lists of - mostly forgettable - nobles who appear in each battle and the disregard, indeed, distrust and fear of the masses. It may seem to the modern ear like sycophancy, but the reader would do well to remember the old adage that, "The past is a different country. They do things differently there." Further, Froissart has a point, when he recounts in horror of the uprising of the Jacquerie that, "When they were asked why they did these things, they replied that they did not know; it was because they saw others doing them and they copied them. They thought that by such means they could destroy all the nobles and gentry in the world, so that there would be no more of them..." Most of the Western World now would sympathise with the Jacquerie, just as it sympathises with the "Arab Spring" which is ongoing as I write this, but it is worth one's while to consider the other side of the coin and to try viewing these current uprisings as Froissart would have. We don't know, and probably shan't for some time, how these things will come round in the end.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Laughter and Death on February 17, 2006
Format: Paperback
The Chronicles is an excellent and fun read. The 14th Century is the most amazing century for medieval Western European history. The plague, the hundred years war, the free companies, the papal schism, wow! If you aren't familiar with the century, I would suggest you first read Barbara Tuchmans "A Distant Mirror", as she gives a really fun overview of the century. Then what Froissart wrote has much more meaning.

To me, history is not just about places, dates and names, but rather is about how those who lived past events, are just like us. The more human they are, the more valuable the history (to me). If we can connect to those in the past, in this emotional way, the past has more meaning, and actually in a way, can become (in your mind) your own past.

What I most enjoyed about Froissart was the personal element that he interjected, telling about conversations he had, personal impressions, and his own moral judgements of events. It made the history seem more connected to our own era, as you see the characters are just people like us.

What I really did not like is that these guys who edit and translate decide for us what is interesting and what is not. As a result, much interesting material (at least to me) was summarized rather than presented. If you are reading Froissart, in my opinion, you are not an ordinary reader who needs it "short and interesting". I read Froissart to see what someone who has been there has to say about events.

So now, I have to go and find a translation that was not abridged. I don't like this. If there is such a translation, I suggest you read that one instead of this one.
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