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The Good Wife's Guide (Le Ménagier de Paris): A Medieval Household Book 1st Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0801474743
ISBN-10: 0801474744
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A cookbook section contains over 350 recipes, and if many of them are taken from authorities such as the royal chef Taillevent, the author is quite opinionated about what works and what doesn't; he improves some recipes and offers others that seem to be his own. No man before or since has known more about running an affluent household, from keeping vermin out of linen to shopping in the market to caring for hunting hawks. The work has a peculiar tone, bossy yet tender, even elegiac. In their introduction the translators emphasize the husband's firm desire to subordinate his wife, but acknowledge that they found the book more appealing than they had originally expected."―Paul Freedman, Times Literary Supplement, 29 May 2009



"This new―and first complete―English translation of the Ménagier de Paris makes available to a broad audience one of the key texts for our understanding of late medieval mentalities. Its lively language, excellent introduction, and copious notes make this guide to good living in every sense (from moral instruction to recipes for delicious meals) useful to students, scholars, and anyone interested in medieval culture."―Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski, University of Pittsburgh



"Gina L. Greco and Christine M. Rose bring to The Good Wife's Guide well-translated and dignified prose, intelligent commentary, and up-to-date scholarship. They have done a service to all those who teach medieval literature, women's literature, gender studies, and late medieval culture by having gracefully and carefully prepared a text of such significance and interest."―Lynn Staley, Harrington and Shirley Drake Professor of the Humanities and Medieval and Renaissance Studies in the Department of English, Colgate University



"In a new, highly readable, and lively translation of an important medieval document, Gina L. Greco and Christine M. Rose have done a wonderful job of maintaining the integrity of the original text while rendering it into colloquial English. As a result, The Good Wife's Guide is eminently teachable. It is a cultural artifact in its own right, one that compiles a wide range of very different kinds of material, from moral exhortations to stories to practical instructions on household topics such as gardening and hawking to recipes-all brought together for a very specific purpose. It offers great insight into how both medieval books and households were put together."―Laurie A. Finke, Kenyon College

About the Author

Gina L. Greco is Associate Professor of French at Portland State University. Christine M. Rose is Professor of English at Portland State University. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; 1 edition (January 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801474744
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801474743
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #404,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. L. R. Reed on March 26, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Good Wife's Guide is a marvelous glance into a late 14th century household guide book. The work was written by a Parisian man for his very young bride. It contains suggestions for running the household, morality, selecting servants, guidance of purchasing and caring for horses, and a treatise on hawking.

This work is the first complete English translation. The authors are professors of English and French whose skills really complement each other in bringing this work to light.
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Format: Paperback
The 'Ménagier de Paris' has been edited and translated several times in the past. But for those that don't read French, there was just one translation, by Eileen Power (1928, reprinted in 2006), in archaic English and incomplete (of 380 recipes, only 153 are in that book). This is the first complete translation in English. In the introduction the editors concentrate on the whole book, not just the culinary recipes. This is refreshing, because the 'Ménagier' is more than just a cookbook, it is a complete guide to the behaviour and duties of the married woman from wealthy bourgeois circles in Paris around 1400. This focus is also apparent in the title, 'The Good WIFE's Guide'. However, if you DO want to cook the recipes you are practically on your own here. The ideal combination for that is this edition with Nicole Crossley-Holland's 'Living and Dining in Medieval Paris' (almost out of print, Amazon.co.uk still has it).
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Format: Hardcover
The first complete English translation of the Menagier de Paris (Power's 1928 version was substantially cut down). However, the authors are not cooks. They translated it for a feminist studies class and they have an Agenda with a capital "A". This means that the emphasis is not on the recipes, but on its "gravity as an agenda of female oppression." Also, the authors posit that the author was not a real older man instructing his young bride, but merely a narrative device. I don't see why the text would then name specific people such as Master Jehan... but whatever.

Finally, the authors have made some egregious non-cook errors such as (sigh) calling grains of paradise cardamom. This was an error originally made by Constance Hieatt in "Pleyn Delit" and she's since fixed it, but the mistake continues to propagate through other people's lazy scholarship.

Despite these flaws, it's worth getting simply because it *is* a complete, well-done translation. But read with care.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
i received a version of this that was abridged to remove everything religious and that was sad because it was such a huge part of the life and custom in this era. When I purchased this book it wasn't as pretty as the abridged version but it is all here intact presented and I found it so much more useful in my living history research!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Fabulous! This is a translation from the original French manuscript of an older husband's treatise to his wife on how to manage her personal, public and spiritual life. The enchanting, disturbing and amusing aspects of this book is how little has changed in men's innermost, secret expectations of their wives and manifestations of their devotion to him. A clear window into the realities of the relationship between men and a "Good Wife" in the 16th century.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The intro is good for college students in certain classes, but the translation was what I was after. It's a good translation. Be aware that the book is complete for what was originally written/preserved, but the table of contents has more than the book itself. The section on games is absent (weep, sob). 100% worth it for the recipes if you like redacting.
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