Synopses & Reviews
From a wealth of vivid autobiographical writings, Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie reconstructs the extraordinary life of Thomas Platter and the lives of his sons. With masterful erudition, Le Roy Ladurie deepens and expands the historical contexts of these accounts and, in the process, brings to life the customs, perceptions, and character of an age poised at the threshold of modernity.
"Le Roy Ladurie paints a remarkably contemporary picture of life in the sixteenth century. . . . It's a good story, told with a deft narrative touch."—Michael S. Kimmel, The Nation
"Le Roy Ladurie is a master of the representative detail and uses the Platters' lives as a means to see a whole century 'through a glass, darkly'."—The Independent
"Le Roy Ladurie has not only thoroughly sketched out the Platters' particular brand of gusto, he has also made it seem a defining characteristic of the sixteenth century."—The New Republic
"All [of] the drama and pathos of a Disney film."—Emily Eakin, Lingua Franca
Author's NotePart OneFather and Son: Thomas and Felix Platter1. Pilgrimage to the ValaisPart TwoChildhoods and Undertakings (1499-1551)2. The Platter Childhoods: Thomas3. The Platter Childhoods: Felix4. Platter Enterprises: ThomasPart ThreeFive Years in the Land of Oc (1552-1556)5. Traveling to Montpellier6. Living in MontpellierPart FourThe Year 15577. Going to Paris (Spring 1557)8. The Spring of 1557: Anabasis9. Summer and Fall: Thesis and WeddingPart FiveBoy or Girl?10. Gredlin11. TomlinNotesBibliographyMapsIndex
In 1499, high in the remote and bitterly impoverished mountains of the Valais, Thomas Platter was born and quickly abandoned, left to make his way among the crags as a herder of goats and sheep. At the age of ten, mustering the ferocity of will that would serve him throughout his life, Thomas walked barefoot and alone out of the hills and into the glorious turbulence of the sixteenth century. For nearly ten years, he wandered the breadth of Western Europe, throwing in his lot with nomadic gangs of beggars and thieves, scraping and fighting for food and survival, until a chance encounter sparked a stunning humanist conversion, propelling him from illiterate pauper to esteemed professor, printer, and, ultimately, patriarch. From a wealth of vividly autobiographical writings - diaries, travel journals, memoirs - Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie reconstructs the extraordinary life of Thomas Platter and the lives of his sons as well. Together their rich careers spanned the entire sixteenth century, and their far-flung and often perilous journeys carried them through countrysides and kingdoms, into cathedrals and plague houses. These personal narratives, among the first to have authors of rural or peasant origin, constitute a rare and intimate portrait of the emergence of early modern European society. With masterful erudition, Le Roy Ladurie deepens and expands the historical contexts of these accounts and, in the process, brings to life the customs, perceptions, and character - the very dialogue - of an age poised at the threshold of modernity.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -385) and index.
About the Author
Arthur Goldhammer is an award-winning translator who has translated books by Georges Duby, Jacques Le Goff, and Jean Starobinski.
Table of Contents
Father and Son: Thomas and Felix Platter
1. Pilgrimage to the Valais
Childhoods and Undertakings (1499-1551)
2. The Platter Childhoods: Thomas
3. The Platter Childhoods: Felix
4. Platter Enterprises: Thomas
Five Years in the Land of Oc (1552-1556)
5. Traveling to Montpellier
6. Living in Montpellier
The Year 1557
7. Going to Paris (Spring 1557)
8. The Spring of 1557: Anabasis
9. Summer and Fall: Thesis and Wedding
Boy or Girl?