By the same authors

A Virtuous Knight? Marshal Boucicaut, Jean II Le Meingre (c.1366-1421)

Research output: Book/ReportBook



Publication details

DatePublished - 7 Jun 2019
Number of pages224
PublisherYork Medieval Press in association with Boydell & Brewer
Place of PublicationWoodbridge
Original languageEnglish
ISBN (Print)9781903153918


The Livre des fais du bon messire Jehan le Maingre (1409) is one of the most famous chivalric biographies of the Middle Ages. It presents Jean II Le Meingre, known as Boucicaut (1366-1421), as an ideal knight and role model, and has frequently been seen by modern scholars as a last-ditch effort to defend traditional chivalric values that were supposedly in decline. Here, however, Craig Taylor argues that the biography is a much more complex and interesting text, fusing traditional notions of chivalry with the most fashionable new ideas in circulation at the French court at the start of the fifteenth century. Rather than a nostalgic criticism of contemporary knighthood, it should be seen as a showcase of the latest ideas on chivalry, written to renew the enthusiasm of the great French princes for a man who was in grave danger of falling out of favour: its purpose was to celebrate and to defend a beleaguered Boucicaut against his critics at the royal court, and to explain his actions as governor of Genoa, his failed crusading enterprises in the Eastern Mediterranean and his unsuccessful efforts to broker a solution to the Papal Schism.

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