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1 Burnside Classics- Medieval and Renaissance General
1 Local Warehouse Classics- Medieval and Renaissance General

This title in other editions

The Portable Medieval Reader


The Portable Medieval Reader Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In their introduction to this anthology, James Bruce Ross and Mary Martin McLaughlin remind us that "no area of the past is dead if we are alive to it. The variety, the complexity, the sheer humanity of the middle ages live most meaningfully in their own authentic voices." The Portable Medieval Reader assembles an entire chorus of those voices—of kings, warriors, prelates, merchants, artisans, chroniclers, and scholars—that together convey a lively, intimate impression of a world that might otherwise seem immeasurably alien.

All the aspects and strata of medieval society are represented here: the life of monasteries and colleges, the codes of knigthood, the labor of peasants and the privileges of kings. There are contemporary accounts of the persecution of Jews and heretics, of the Crusades in the Holy Land, of courtly pageants, popular uprisings, and the first trade missions to Cathay. We find Chaucer, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Saint Francis of Assisi, Thomas Aquinas and Abelard alongside a host of lesser-known writers, discoursing on all the arts, knowledge and speculation of their time. The result, according to the Columbia Record, is a broad and eminetly readable "cross section of source history and rich and varied as a stained glass window."


A comprehensive and accessible volume of some of the best-loved medieval literature in its original Middle English

This volume brings together four works of the unknown fourteenth-century poet famous for the Arthurian romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, in their original Middle English. Also gathered here are the famous medieval texts Pearl, Cleanness, and Patience, complete with new scholarly apparatus to aid firsttime readers and experts alike.

About the Author

MYRA STOKES was formerly a senior lecturer in the Department of English at Bristol University.
AD PUTTER is professor of medieval English literature at the University of Bristol, England, and he is also coeditor of The Cambridge Companion to the Arthurian Legend.

Table of Contents


Chronological Table

Suggestions for Further Reading

Part One: The Body Social The Body Social - John of Salisbury

The Orders of Men


The Monastic Ideal - Peter Damiani

The Cistercian Order - William of Malmesbury

How the Friars Came to Germany - Jordan of Giano

A Preacher and His Miracles - Salimbene

Monastic Reform in the Fifteenth Century - John Busch

Archibishop Baldwin of Canterbury - Giraldus Cambrensis

A Model Parish Priest: St. Gilbert of Sempringham - John Capgrave

An Attempt to Enforce Clerical Celibacy - Ordericus Vitalis

The Habits of Priests in Normandy - Odo of Rigaud

Statutes for a College - Robert de Sorbonne

How the Student Should Behave - John of Garland


The Function of Knighthood - John of Salisbury

The Chivalric Ideal - Díaz de Gámez

The Murder of a Feudal Lord - Galbert of Bruges

The Battle of Poitiers - Geoffrey le Baker

A Knight-Errant of the Fifteenth Century - Jörg von Ehingen

The Rules of Courtly Love - Andreas Capellanus

A Noble Household - Jean Froissart

Offices in a Noble Household - John Russell

Private Lives of the English Gentry - Stonor Letters


The Feet of the Commonwealth - John of Salisbury

The Duties of Manorial Officers - Seneschaucie

The Peasant's Life - William Langland

The Making of a Merchant: St. Godric of Finchale - Reginald of Durham

Advice to a Norweigian Merchant - The King's Mirror

The Successful Surgeon - John Arderne

The Good Wife - The Goodman of Paris

Life in London - Memorials of London

Fashions in Italy - Sacchetti


Papal Protection of the Jews - Pope Gregory X

The Cremation of the Strasbourg Jewry - Jacob von Königshofen

Conflict, Protest, and Catastrophe

A Revolt of the Commons in London - Roger of Wendover

The Peasants' Revolt in England - Anonimalle Chronicle

My Brother Man - Walther von der Vogelweide

Piers Plowman's Protest - William Langland

The Waldensian Heretics - Bernard Gui

The Impact of the Black Death - Henry Knighton

Paris during the Hundred Years' War - Journal d'un bourgeois

Part Two: The Christian Commonwealth The Spiritual Authority

The Superiority of the Spiritual Authority - Pope Bonfiace VIII

The Election and Coronation of a Pope - Adam of Usk

The Creation of Cardinals - Pope Pius II

The Fourth Lateran Council - Roger of Wendover

A French Provincial Synod - Odo of Rigaud

Letter to King Henry II - Thomas Becket

The Temporal Authorities

The Nature of a True Prince - John of Salisbury

The Independence of the Temporal Authority - Frederick Barbarossa

The Election and Coronation of an Emperor - Otto of Freising

A German Poet's Attack on the Papacy - Walther von der Vogelweide

The Seven Electors - Adam of Usk

A Picture of a Good Feudal King: Louis VI of France - Suger

The Coronation of Richard Lion Heart - Roger of Wendover

The Deposition and Death of Richard II - Adam of Usk

An Imperialist View of the Lombard Communes - Otto of Freising

City Politics in Siena - Pope Pius II

A Petty Italian Tyrant - Anonymous

A Picture of a Tyrant - Pope Pius II

Renewal and Reform

The Recovery of the Holy Land: A Plan of Action and a Scheme for Reform - Pierre du Bois

On the Supremacy of General Councils in Church and Empire - Nicholas of Cusa

A Plea for the Reform of Germany - Die Reformation Kaiser Sigmunds

A Call for Common Action Against the Turks - Pope Pius II

Part Three: The House of Fame Bohemond the Crusader - Anna Comnena

ON the Fame of Abelard - Heloise

Heloise and Abelard: The Later Years - Peter the Venerable

Arnold of Brescia, a Twelfth-Century Revolutionary - John of Salisbury

Arnold of Brescia - Anonymous

His Own Deeds - Giraldus Cambrensis

Henry II, King of England - Giraldus Cambrensis

The Emperor Frederick II - Salimbene

A Saintly King - Jean de Joinville

Pope Boniface VIII - Giovanni Villani

Dante Alighieri - Giovanni Villani

Inscription for a Portrait of Dante - Giovanni Boccaccio

Giotto - Lorenzo Ghiberti

Letter to Posterity - Francesco Petrarca

Charles the Bold and the Fall of the House of Burgundy - Philippe de Commines

Part Four: The World Picture The Frontiers of Europe: Conquest and Assimilation of Peoples

Anglo-Saxons and Normans - William of Malmesbury

The Character and Customs of the Irish - Giraldus Cambrensis

The Conversion and Subjugation of the Slavs - Helmold

The German Push to the East - Ordensritter und Kirchenfürsten

The Near East: Pilgrimage and Crusade

The Great German Pilgrimage - Lambert of Hersfeld

The First Contact of Crusaders and Turks - Histoire anonyme de la première croisade

A Greek View of the Crusaders - Anna Comnena

An Arab Opinion of the Crusaders - Usamah

A Crusader's Criticism of the Greeks - Odo of Deuil

Why the Crusaders Failed - William of Tyre

The Expedition of the Grand Company to Constantinople - Ramón Muntaner

The Far East: Missionaries and Merchants

The Tartar Menace to Europe - Matthew Paris

A Mission to the Great Khan - William of Rubrud

The Labours of a Friar in Cathay - John of Monte Corvino

A Last Mission to Cathay - John of Marignolli

Advice to Merchants Bound for Cathay - Francesco Pegolotti

Henry the Navigator's Search for New Lands - Gomes de Azurara

Part Five: The Noble Castle The Makers


The Vision of Viands - Aniar MacConglinne

Hymn for Good Friday - Peter Abelard

David's Lament for Jonathan - Peter Abelard

Let's Away with Study - Anonymous

When Diana Lighteth - Anonymous

To Bel Vezer on Her Dismissal of the Poet - Bernart de Ventadorn

Dawn Song - Anonymous

The Pretty Fruits of Love - Anonymous

This Song Wants Drink - Anonymous

The Love of Tristan and Iseult - Gottfried von Strassburg

Of the Churl Who Won Paradise - Anonymous

Gather Ye Rosebuds - Romance of the Rose

The Canticle of the Sun - Saint Francis of Assisi

Of the Gentle Heart - Guido Guinicelli

My Lady Looks So Gentle - Dante Alighieri

Beauty in Women - Guido Cavalcanti

Of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the Sinner - Jacopone da Todi

Merciless Beauty: A Triple Roundel - Geoffrey Chaucer

Roundel - Christine de Pisan

Miracles of the Virgin - Johannes Herolt


Of Pictures and Images - William Durandus

How to Represent the Arts and Sciences - Quellenbuch zur Kunstgeschichte

The Identity of Individual Artists - Recueil de textes relatifs à l'histoire de l'architecture

Abbots as Builders - Gesta abbatum sancti Albani

A Painter on His Craft - Cennino Cennini

Nature as the Supreme Authority - Leonardo da Vinci


Celtic Music and Music in General - Giraldus Cambrensis

Two Musical Friars - Salimbene

An Orchestra of the Fourteenth Century - Guillaume de Machaut

The Mirror of History

A Philosophy of History - Otto of Freising

The Problems and Motives of the Historian - William of Tyre

The Seven Liberal Arts

On Study and Teaching - Hugh of St. Victor

The Battle of the Arts - Henri d'Andeli

Rules of the University of Paris - Chartulary of the University of Paris

Fernando of Cordova, the Boy Wonder - Launoy

The Problems of a Christian Humanist - John of Salisbury

The Ancients and the Moderns - Walter Map

A Plea for the Study of Languages - Roger Bacon

Statute of the Council of Vienne on Languages - Chartulary of the University of Paris

An English Humanist - Richard de Bury

In Defence of Liberal Studies - Coluccio Salutati

In Praise of Greek - Leonardo Bruni

The Mirror of Nature

Questions on Nature - Adelard of Bath

Experimental Science - Roger Bacon

The Case of a Woman Doctor in Paris - Chartulary of the University of Paris

The History of Surgery - Gui de Chauliac

The Mirror of Wisdom

The Place of Logic in Philosophy - Peter Abelard

The End of Man - Saint Thomas Aquinas

On Learned Ignorance - Nicholas of Cusa

The Vision of God

The Soul Complains to God - Jacopone da Todi

A Crying Mystic - Margery Kempe

The Vision of God - Nicholas of Cusa


Product Details

Ross, James Bruce,
joint ed.:
McLaughlin, Mary Martin,
McLaughlin, Mary M.
Stokes, Myra
McLaughlin, Mary Martin
Putter, Ad
Ross, James Bruce
Ross, J. B.
Penguin Books
New York :
Collections and anthologies
Literature, medieval
Literature, Medieval CONTRIBUTION: McLaughlin, Mary Martin, = joint ed.
General Fiction
Edition Description:
Mass Market
Portable Library
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 12
7.75 x 5.06 in 0.01 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Classics » General
Fiction and Poetry » Classics » Medieval and Renaissance
History and Social Science » World History » Medieval and Renaissance
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General
Reference » Rhetoric

The Portable Medieval Reader Used Trade Paper
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Product details 704 pages Penguin Books - English 9780140150469 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
A comprehensive and accessible volume of some of the best-loved medieval literature in its original Middle English

This volume brings together four works of the unknown fourteenth-century poet famous for the Arthurian romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, in their original Middle English. Also gathered here are the famous medieval texts Pearl, Cleanness, and Patience, complete with new scholarly apparatus to aid firsttime readers and experts alike.

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