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Not many in late middle age realise their dream of living on a canal boat and exploring the waterways of France. Even fewer anticipate the problems that might confront them on their adventure into 'the unknown'. Valerie and Geoffrey buy their boat which they christen "de Villehardouin" and set off on the Canal du Midi, drawing and writing about their journey as they meander along the two hundred year old canal. They revel in the slow pace as they enter a world of welcoming ports, canalside markets, ancient sites and chateaux, delicate wildflowers and, in the Camargue, medieval jousting and pink flamingos. The various regional cuisines introduce them to gastronomic delights and memorable wines. Tackling the mighty Rhône River with its awesome deep locks in their small boat presents a challenge. Valerie and Geoffrey accept this with their usual humour. Once the Rhône is conquered, they find time to enjoy the ever-changing scenery of the canals as the dream unfolds.
Strange and exotic, seductive and threatening, the Orient has always been an enchanted space for the West. But this is a space, theorists argue, that has been 'Orientalized' by the West, constructed upon a system of knowledge and power which defines the West as much as this 'Other'. Within Western cultures, the French encounter with the Orient has been extraordinarily rich and varied, from the experiences of the first pilgrims to the challenges posed for the identity of modern-day France by its ethnic minorities. This collection of interdisciplinary essays explores the range of French and francophone encounters with the East from the medieval period to the present day. The contributions encompass a variety of Orients, both geographical and generic: the Orients of the visual arts, of historicist discourse, of fiction and travel writing. They consider not only those artists we immediately associate with the East, such as Nerval or Fromentin, but also those, like Proust, whose work appears firmly rooted in the West. They also provide new insights into the less familiar works of long-celebrated authors like Flaubert and more recently acclaimed writers such as Bouvier and Djebar.
In April 1204, the armies of Western Christendom wrote another bloodstained chapter in the history of holy war. Two years earlier, aflame with religious zeal, the Fourth Crusade set out to free Jerusalem from the grip of Islam. But after a dramatic series of events, the crusaders turned their weapons against the Christian city of Constantinople, the heart of the Byzantine Empire and the greatest metropolis in the known world. The crusaders spared no one in their savagery: they murdered and raped old and young - they desecrated churches, plundered treasuries and much of the city was put to the torch. Some contemporaries were delighted: God had approved this punishment of the effeminate, treacherous Greeks; others expressed shock and disgust at this perversion of the crusading ideal. History has judged this as the crusade that went wrong. In this remarkable new assessment of the Fourth Crusade, Jonathan Phillips follows the fortunes of the leading players and explores the conflicting motives that drove the expedition to commit the most infamous massacre of the crusading movement.
The study of medieval warfare has developed enormously in recent years. The figure of the armoured mounted knight, who was believed to have materialized in Carolingian times, long dominated all discussion of the subject. It is now understood that the knight emerged over a long period of time and that he was never alone on the field of conflict. Infantry, at all times, played a substantial role in conflict, and the notion that they were in some way invented only in the fourteenth century is no longer sustainable. Moreover, modern writers have examined campaigns which for long seemed pointless because they did not lead to spectacular events like battles. As a result, we now understand the pattern of medieval war which often did not depend on battle but on exerting pressure on the opponent by economic warfare. This pattern was intensified by the existence of castles, and careful study has revealed much about their development and the evolving means of attacking them. Crusading warfare pitted westerners against a novel style of war and affords an opportunity to assess the military effectiveness of European methods. New areas of study are now developing. The logistics of medieval armies was always badly neglected, while until very recently there was a silence on the victims of war. Assembled in this volume are 31 papers which represent milestones in the development of the new ideas about medieval warfare, set in context by an introductory essay.
Originally published in 1897, "The Flourishing Of Romance And The Rise Of Allegory" is a fascinating treatise by English writer George Saintsbury on Romance. Contents include: "The function of Latin", "Chansons De Geste", "The Matter of Britain", "Antiquity in Romance", "The making of English and the settlement of European Prosody", "Middle High German Poetry", "The 'Fox'", "The 'Rose'", etc. George Edward Bateman Saintsbury (23 October 1845 - 28 January 1933) was an English writer, scholar, literary historian, critic and wine connoisseur. Other notable works by this author include: "A Primer of French Literature" (1880), "Short History of French Literature" (1882), and "History of Elizabethan Literature" (1887). Many vintage books such as this are becoming increasingly scarce and expensive. It is with this in mind that we are republishing this volume now in an affordable, modern, high-quality edition complete with a specially commissioned new biography of the author.

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