Jean de Saintre

Jean de Saintre: A Late Medieval Education in Love and Chivalry

Antoine de La Sale
Roberta L. Krueger
Jane H. M. Taylor
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 288
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt6wr8w3
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Jean de Saintre
    Book Description:

    Written in 1456 and purporting to be the biography of the actual fourteenth-century knight of its title,Jean de Saintréhas been called the first modern novel in French and one of the first historical novels in any language. Taken in hand at the age of thirteen by an older and much more experienced lady, Madame des Belles Cousines, the youth grows into an accomplished knight, winning numerous tournaments and even leading a crusade against the infidels for the love of Madame. When he reaches maturity, Jean starts to rebel against Madame's domination by seeking out chivalric adventures on his own. She storms off to her country estates and takes up with the burly abbot of a nearby monastery. The text moves into darker and uncourtly territory when Jean discovers their liaison and lashes out to avenge his lost love and honor, ruining Madame's reputation in the process.Composed in the waning years of chivalry and at the threshold of the print revolution,Jean de Saintréincorporates disquisitions on sin and virtue, advice on hygiene and fashion, as well as lengthy set pieces of chivalric combat. Antoine de La Sale, who was, by turns, a page, a royal tutor, a soldier, and a judge at tournaments, embellished his text with wide-ranging insights into chivalric ideology, combat techniques, heraldry and warfare, and the moral training of a young knight. This superb translation-the first in nearly a hundred years-contextualizes the story with a rich introduction and a glossary and is suitable for scholars, students, and general readers alike. An encyclopedic compilation of medieval culture and a window into the lost world of chivalry,Jean de Saintréis a touchstone for both the late Middle Ages and the emergence of the modern novel.

    eISBN: 978-0-8122-0939-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. vii-xxvi)

    Antoine de La Sale’sLe Petit Jehan de Saintré, orJean de Saintréis one of the most important works of prose fiction of the later Middle Ages. It has been hailed as one of the first historical novels for its account of what purports to be the chivalric biography of a historical knight, the fourteenth-century Jean of Saintré (1320–68), who was seneschal of Anjou and Maine. But, as we shall see, La Sale’s account of the glorious exploits of a knight who lived a hundred years prior to the book’s composition bears often only a tenuous relationship to historical...

  4. Jean de Saintré
    (pp. 1-208)

    [1]¹ To you, most excellent and all-powerful prince, Monseigneur Jean d’Anjou, Duke of Calabria and of Lorraine, marcher lord and Marquis du Pont, my most honorable lord:² following my most humble and obedient commendations, in answer to your prayers, which are my total commands, I have the pleasure of offering you four beautiful treatises, arranged in two volumes so that they may be more easily carried. The first treatise tells about a lady of Belles Cousines from France, without identifying her by any other name or surname, and the most valiant knight, the Seigneur de Saintré. The second recounts the...

  5. NOTES
    (pp. 209-222)
  6. GLOSSARY
    (pp. 223-228)
  7. SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 229-236)
  8. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. 237-237)