Saturday, February 09, 2013

Deeds of arms and me

Since the late 1990s, I have been studdying  and  writing  about  formal combats -- challenges, tournaments, jousts, trials  by combat -- in the late Middle Ages.  What did the fighters do? Why did they do it?  What did it mean to them?

Over this decade or so, I have generated a lot of material entitled "Deeds of Arms," because, well, it's  all about deeds of arms.   Is there room for confusion?  Yes!  So here's a brief guide to the various works of that name.

I started by reading all of Froissart's Chronicles in the 1805 Thomas Johnes translation, and typing stories that caught  my eye into web pages so I could share them with friends and strangers.  I didn't call  this collection  Deeds of Arms, fortunately -- I called  it Tales from Froissart.

Somewhat later I started collecting and translating chronicle accounts of formal combats.  This was the first Deeds of Arms. Soon after I followed up some footnotes and found archival documents relevant to the history of formal deeds  of arms.  These I collected under the name Deeds of Arms -- from the Archives.

In 2003 my book Jousts and Tournaments:  Charny and the rules for chivalric sport in fourteenth-century France  came out. It included my translation of Geoffroi de Charny's questions on jousting and the  tournament.  At the moment this book -- which avoided the dread phrase in the title, you'll notice -- is out of print, but worry not, a more complete and accurate treatment and translation of Charny's Questions is coming out.

By 2005 I felt  I knew a bit about deeds of arms in general and in that year my book Deeds of  Arms: Formal combats in the late fourteenth century, emerged in print.  It treated the period when Froissart was writing so much about war and chivalry.  Can't get away from that man... The book is still in print.

After that I had another idea -- a series  about...deeds of arms.  It was a kind of an extension of the  first collection, a series of  thematic source collections in print and illustrated.  Factors not under my control  derailed this project for a number of years, but thanks to Freelance Academy Press, that series, Deeds of Arms, is now a reality.      I  am the series editor and the editor/translator of the  first two volumes.  There will be more from me, but we've already lined up other contributors.

And the book design is excellent...a Freelance Academy Press specialty.

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