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War and Combat, 1150-1270: the Evidence from Old French Literature


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War and combat were significant factors in the lives of all conditions of people during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries; thousands of men, women and children prepared for, engaged in and suffered from the consequences of almost endemic armed conflict. However, while war and combat feature prominently in many of the forms of literature written at the time, the theme of warfare in some types of narrative source remains a relatively under-studied area. This book offers an investigation of the depiction of warfare in contemporary writings, in both fictional narratives and factual accounts, aiming to bridge the gap between the disciplines of literature and military history. Using both established sources and the latest research, the author examines how the application of what is now known about the practical and technological aspects of medieval warfare can aid us in our understanding of literature. She also demonstrates, via an investigation of a corpus of Old French chronicles, epics and romances, how the judicious study of sources that are not always considered reliable can, in turn, inform us about contemporary perceptions of, and attitudes towards, war and other forms of armed combat.

Dr Catherine Hanley was formerly a Research Associate in the Department of French at the University of Sheffield; she is now a freelance editor and historical novelist.


Hanley brings together historical and literary scholarship to cast new light on a score of Old French works of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. [The] book is well written, well organised and based on extensive reading. [...] I have no doubts that War and Combat will find itself into many scholarly libraries, and will serve many readers as a guide to the complexities of the medieval literature of war. DE RE MILITARI
Very nicely produced...will be a most useful addition to the study of what is increasingly recognized as a major element of medieval life and literature. FRENCH HISTORY
An ambitious project that should attract the attention of a wide range of specialists.. [The author] has avoided the pitfalls of many interdisciplinary works and produced a volume of sound scholarship. YEAR'S WORK IN MODERN LANGUAGE STUDIES
This is a very useful, very complete, and trustworthy account of the topic, admirably inclusive and challenging. SPECULUM


First Published: 28 Aug 2003
13 Digit ISBN: 9780859917810
Pages: 271
Size: 23.4 x 15.6
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: D.S.Brewer

Details updated on 05 Oct 2015