Roux, Simone - Paris in the Middle Ages - ( Item 133216 )
Published in London by Folio Society. 2014. First Thus. Fine Hardback. No inscriptions or bookplates. Fine slipcase. Bound in buckram with a Modigliani paper band, printed with a design by Neil Gower. Translated by Jo Ann McNamara. Set in Fournier. 344 pages; frontispiece and 24 pages of colour and black & white plates. Printed map endpapers. 9½" x 6½". Introduced by Andrew Hussey. Roux handles with both precision and lyricism the primary sources that tell us about the medieval history of one the world’s great cities. This edition features an improved translation and an array of visual material. Where some modern historians delight in imaginative retellings of the past, Simone Roux follows the strictest rigour in using only primary, textual sources for her authoritative account. Yet such is her skill that from censorship rolls or court records she draws stories that bring an entire city to life, and does so, as introducer Andrew Hussey writes, ‘with the eye of a poet and an archaeologist’. Roux begins with the physical city of Paris – surrounded by its walls, or the enceinte, first begun in 1190 and then enlarged several times in later years. From there she moves on to the city’s people: the hierarchies and the social, political and ecclesiastical figures that connected and divided them. And finally, Roux describes day-to-day life: how people lived and worked, what they ate and wore, their relationships and friendships. The details she elicits offer a fascinating, varied picture, from a street brawl where two neighbours beat one another with bread to an extravagant gown belonging to the Duke of Orleans, covered with the notes and lyrics of a love song stitched out in pearls. Illuminations from contemporary manuscripts depict Paris, dominated by the bulk of Notre-Dame. In details of these we see, amongst others, a money-changer, a picklock, a watchman, and a ferryman bringing a boatload of melons to the city. The book’s endpapers are printed with a 15th-century map, and we have also commissioned a new map to show the 13th-century city. With a newly commissioned index and improved translation, this Folio edition provides a key to Paris's past.
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