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Books 2011: 193-194


nonfiction


193. Jean Froissart, Chronicles. Penguin Classics, Penguin, London and New York, 1978. Translated with an introduction by Geoffrey Brereton.

This translation here represents a selection of approximately a sixth of the Chronicles of Froissart, a medieval historian born in Valenciennes c. 1337 who spent time in the entourage of Phillipa of Hainault, Queen to Edward III of England, and after her death enjoyed the patronage of several noblemen in the Netherlands. In 1388 he spent time in the court of Gaston Ph├ębas, Count of Foix, and visited the court of Richard II in 1395. He died c. 1410, leaving behind four books of his Chronicles.

This is vivid and immediate medieval history, told with much sharp dialogue and a novellist's eye for telling detail. And Froissart is very much a product of his time, with its worldview of the "gentry" and the "meaner sort". But there is much interesting detail here about medieval life among the knightly classes, and the kind of behaviour in which knights and squires, kings and nobles, engaged. Which is not what the propaganda would have you believe.

An interesting and lively read, if occasionally unreliable in specifics and chronology. Recommended.


194. Sophocles, Antigone, Oedipus the King, and Electra. Oxford World's Classics, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2008. First edition of this translation 1962. Translated by H.D.F. Kitto, with an introduction and notes by Edith Hall.

A translation of the aforementioned plays done with vigour, verve, and an ear to lyricism, if not complete precision. These plays are so well-known they hardly need explanation, but they are worth reading.

Date: 2011-12-14 07:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] angevin2.livejournal.com
FROISSAAAAAAAAAAAART. I love him so much.

Date: 2011-12-14 07:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hawkwing-lb.livejournal.com
He really is rather made of win. (I especially enjoyed when he's apologising for telling how people died, because he liked them. The man has personality. :) )

Date: 2011-12-30 12:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] endlessrarities.livejournal.com
I THINK that's the version of Sophocles I came home with. I've never read any Greek plays before - isn't that a dreadful admission?

I'm just a barbarian...

Date: 2011-12-30 12:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hawkwing-lb.livejournal.com
I hadn't read any before I embarked on the monster that is my thesis. Which is a shame, really, because most of them are very interesting.

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