The Book of the Deeds of the Good Knight Jacques de Lalaing
Title Details

256 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

3 maps

Imprint: Boydell Press

The Book of the Deeds of the Good Knight Jacques de Lalaing

by Nigel Bryant

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
Contains detailed, eyewitness accounts of the most memorable exploits of of a man fit to be memorialised as a model of ideal knighthood.


'My honoured lord, I am sending you certain recollections of the high and admirable deeds of arms performed in the lists by your late son Jacques de Lalaing... But they are small memories in relation to the greatness of his deeds.'

So begins a letter that Lefèvre de Saint-Remy, 'King of Arms' of one of the grandest orders of chivalry, the Burgundian Order of the Golden Fleece, wrote to Jacques's father following the young knight's dramatic death. It contains detailed, eyewitness accounts of many of his most memorable exploits, and leaves little reason to doubt that Jacques de Lalaing was a genuinely exceptional knight, fit to be memorialised as a model of ideal knighthood.

This letter is just one of several components of the fascinating Book of the Deeds of the Good Knight Jacques de Lalaing. Not a biography by a single hand but a herald's compilation of existing documents - Lefèvre's letter, the records of other heralds and a previously lost section of Lefèvre's fine chronicle - the book traces Lalaing's career in absorbing detail.

It is a remarkable story. After serving in the Burgundian conquest of Luxembourg, Lalaing set out across Europe, challenging and jousting wherever he went from Portugal to Scotland. Most famous of all was his elaborately staged deed of arms called the Fountain of Tears. Here, on a river island in Burgundy, he stood and fought all comers for an entire year in 1449-50. With grim irony Lalaing, as glamorous in his time as any sporting hero of today, was then killed by an unglamorous cannon ball in the Ghent War of 1453.

Compiled largely from the work of heralds whose prime concern was accuracy, this book holds rich seams of information to be mined, offering invaluable insights into the behaviour and thinking of the nobility in the late Middle Ages.

The Book of the Deeds of Jacques de Lalaing follows Nigel Bryant's previous translations of chivalric biographies from earlier centuries - those of William Marshal, Bertrand du Guesclin and Geoffroi de Charny. It shows that the ideals of chivalry - including even a commitment to crusade - were still very much alive even as the nature of warfare changed, and Jacques was a complete model of those ideals, a model which remained real, attainable and absolutely relevant.
Introduction
Authorship
A Model Knight, a Model Prince
Jacques's Journeys
Combat in Castile and Scotland
The Fountain of Tears
Chivalry and Status
The Ghent War
Relevance
The Text Translated
Further Reading
The Book of the Deeds of the Good Knight Jacques de Lalaing
Index

NIGEL BRYANT is well known for his lively and accurate versions of medieval French works. His translations of Chrétien de Troyes' Perceval
and all its continuations and of the extraordinary late Arthurian romance Perceforest have been major achievements; he has also translated Jean le Bel's history of the early stages of the Hundred Years War, and the 13th- and 14th-century biographies of William Marshal and Bertrand du Guesclin. He was awarded the 2019 Norris J. Lacy Prize for outstanding editorial achievement in Arthurian studies.

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9781783276516

May 2024

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Title Details

256 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

3 maps

Imprint: Boydell Press