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Why did Lady Mary care about William Cragh?

Maurice Keen: A medieval miracle, 5 August 2004

The Hanged Man: A Story of Miracle, Memory and Colonialism in the Middle Ages 
by Robert Bartlett.
Princeton, 168 pp., £16.95, April 2004, 0 691 11719 5
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... Robert Bartlett examines with verve, scholarship and gusto the extraordinary story of a Welshman hanged by the neck outside Swansea in 1290 (and rehanged to make double sure he was done for), and restored to life by the intervention of a saint. The Welshman was William Cragh (cragh in Welsh means ‘the scabby’), a follower, it appears, of the Welsh patriot Rhys ap Maredudd ...

The Gold Mines of Kremnica

Maurice Keen: From Venice to Visa, 20 February 2003

Power and Profit: The Merchant in Medieval Europe 
by Peter Spufford.
Thames and Hudson, 432 pp., £24.95, September 2002, 0 500 25118 5
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... In the fifth circle of Dante’s Paradiso, the poet and his guide Beatrice encounter the spirit of his Florentine Crusading ancestor Cacciaguida. Together they discourse on the contrasts between Florence as it is now and as Cacciaguida knew it, in the mid-12th century. The city then was only a fifth of its present compass, Cacciaguida tells them. Its population has since been swelled by a host of immigrants; the grandfather of one who now prospers changing coin (cambio) and doing commerce (merca), was, he says, a countryman begging his way about Semifonte ...

Hoo sto ho sto mon amy

Maurice Keen: Knightly Pursuits, 15 December 2005

A Knight’s Own Book of Chivalry 
by Geoffroi de Charny, translated by Elspeth Kennedy.
Pennsylvania, 117 pp., £10, May 2005, 0 8122 1909 0
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The Master of Game: The Oldest English Book on Hunting 
by Edward, Duke of York.
Pennsylvania, 302 pp., £14.50, September 2005, 0 8122 1937 6
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... These two paperbacks, of Geoffroi de Charny’s A Knight’s Own Book of Chivalry and Edward, Duke of York’s The Master of Game, make accessible two texts that are of exceptional interest for the light they shed on the ethos, style and tastes of the secular aristocracy of the later Middle Ages. Charny’s book offers an exploration and explanation of the values and proper manner of life for Christian knights and men at arms by someone who was a knight himself ...

Freebooter

Maurice Keen: The diabolical Sir John Hawkwood, 5 May 2005

Hawkwood: Diabolical Englishman 
by Frances Stonor Saunders.
Faber, 366 pp., £17.99, November 2004, 9780571219087
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... The greatest mercenary of an age when soldiers of fortune flourished,’ says the cover flap of Frances Stonor Saunders’s biography of Sir John Hawkwood (c.1320-94), one-time leader of the White Company made famous by Conan Doyle’s historical novels. The 14th century was indeed an age of opportunity for military adventurers, and for mercenary soldiers in particular ...

Blood on the Block

Maurice Keen: Henry IV, 5 June 2008

The Fears of Henry IV: The Life of England’s Self-Made King 
by Ian Mortimer.
Vintage, 480 pp., £8.99, July 2008, 978 1 84413 529 5
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... Returning unbidden from exile in July 1399 to claim his confiscated inheritance as Duke of Lancaster while Richard II was in Ireland, Henry Bolingbroke was greeted tumultuously as the prospective saviour of the realm. Richard, hurrying home, found himself deserted in mid-Wales and faced with no alternative to putting himself in his cousin’s power ...

The Men from God Knows Where

Maurice Keen: The Hundred Years War, 27 April 2000

The Hundred Years War. Vol. II: Trial by Fire 
by Jonathan Sumption.
Faber, 680 pp., £30, August 1999, 0 571 13896 9
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... Like Edward Gibbon, that earlier master of narrative history, Jonathan Sumption went to Magdalen College, Oxford and stayed the course there longer and more successfully than his great predecessor. There are other points of comparison. Both left academia early for more public walks in life; Gibbon successively as squire, officer in the militia and Member of Parliament, Sumption for the Bar, where he became a leading QC ...

Diary

David Gilmour: On Richard Cobb, 21 May 1987

... who the leaders were, let alone what they were after, and a difficult silence followed until Maurice Keen asked me about the battle of Waterloo. What should have been a straightforward discussion ended in surly disagreement about whether or not Wellington had been unduly cautious about his right flank, and I left the room convinced that I would be ...

Medieval Fictions

Stuart Airlie, 21 February 1985

Chivalry 
by Maurice Keen.
Yale, 303 pp., £12.95, April 1984, 0 300 03150 5
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The Rise of Romance 
by Eugène Vinaver.
Boydell, 158 pp., £12, February 1984, 0 85991 158 6
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War in the Middle Ages 
by Philippe Contamine, translated by Michael Jones.
Blackwell, 387 pp., £17.50, June 1984, 0 631 13142 6
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War and Government in the Middle Ages 
edited by John Gillingham and J.C. Holt.
Boydell, 198 pp., £25, July 1984, 0 85115 404 2
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Prussian Society and the German Order 
by Michael Burleigh.
Cambridge, 217 pp., £22.50, May 1984, 9780521261043
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... theatrically over the warriors was a valuable part of a knight’s intellectual equipment. As Maurice Keen points out, heraldry was ‘one of the prime keys to a secular chivalrous erudition that was at once literal and visual, practical and ideological’. Dr Keen’s book is a brilliantly successful attempt to ...

The vanquished party, as likely as not innocent, was dragged half-dead to the gallows

Alexander Murray: Huizinga’s history of the Middle Ages, 19 March 1998

The Autumn of the Middle Ages 
by John Huizinga, translated by Rodney Payton.
Chicago, 560 pp., £15.95, December 1997, 0 226 35994 8
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... reads as a living-in-the-past, an escape from the brutalities of 15th-century war. In 1984 Maurice Keen, incidentally a strong admirer of Huizinga, showed with conviction in his Chivalry that the mythology of knighthood had a more positive function: that of softening the brutalities. Again, take the witch craze. Obedient to contemporary ...

Lurching up to bed with the champion of Cubism

Nicholas Penny: Douglas Cooper, 20 January 2000

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: Picasso, Provence and Douglas Cooper 
by John Richardson.
Cape, 320 pp., £20, November 1999, 0 224 05056 7
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... or at least knows about – everyone. For example (on page 118, to be precise), Marie-Laure (1), Maurice Bischoffsheim (2), the Comtesse de Chevigné (3), the Duchesse de Guermantes (4), the Marquis de Sade (5), Jean Cocteau (6), the Vicomte de Noailles (7), an anonymous gym instructor (8), Igor Markevitch (9), Diaghilev (10), Nijinsky (11), ...

Robin’s Hoods

Patrick Wormald, 5 May 1983

Robin Hood 
by J.C. Holt.
Thames and Hudson, 208 pp., £8.95, May 1982, 0 500 25081 2
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The Early History of Glastonbury: An Edition, Translation and Study of William of Malmesbury’s ‘De Antiquitate Glastonie Ecclesie’ 
by John Scott.
Boydell, 224 pp., £25, January 1982, 9780851151540
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Megalithomania 
by John Michell.
Thames and Hudson, 168 pp., £8.50, March 1982, 9780500012611
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... good-humoured) debate in Past and Present, a splendid survey of The Outlaws of Medieval England by Maurice Keen, a delightful collection of Rymes of Robin Hood by Barry Dobson and John Taylor, and a constructive reassessment of ‘the birth and setting of the ballads of Robin Hood’ by John Maddicott, have not only cast a flood of light on ...

Other Selves

John Bayley, 29 October 1987

How I Grew 
by Mary McCarthy.
Weidenfeld, 278 pp., £14.95, September 1987, 0 297 79170 2
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Myself and Michael Innes 
by J.I.M. Stewart.
Gollancz, 206 pp., £12.95, September 1987, 0 575 04104 8
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... money and books and a place in Seattle society were no problem. Everything began with reading, and Maurice Hewlett was one of the favourites: Even more than the better-known The Forest Lovers I loved The Life and Death of Richard Yea-and-Nay, about King Richard the Lion-Hearted, published in 1900 ... the medieval romances I was writing at top speed on an ...

Countess Bitch

Robert Tombs, 16 November 1995

The Notorious Life of Gyp: Right-Wing Anarchist in Fin-de-Siècle France 
by Willa Silverman.
Oxford, 325 pp., £24, June 1995, 0 19 508754 2
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... such as Daudet, Dumas fils, Halévy and Goncourt and the promising novelists Anatole France and Maurice Barrès,who became one of her closest and most faithful friends. She held open house for her entourage during the summer in a villa on the Normandy coast. In short, she enjoyed remarkable literary success. She also threw herself into the thrilling world ...

Diary

Rosemary Dinnage: In Paris, 2 February 1984

... squeezing fruit in the market? ‘I’ll suggest it to my husband, but I don’t think he’d be keen,’ says my train acquaintance Josette; nevertheless, she is radiantly travelling back from a solo package weekend in Venice, leaving three teenagers with her husband. Liberation of varying degrees is under way among Parisian women. But it seems there is a ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: Gainsborough, 28 November 2002

... But this talent wasn’t necessarily combined with other painterly abilities. Gainsborough and Maurice-Quentin de La Tour were both reckoned remarkable getters of likeness, and both had significant weaknesses, or lack of interest, in other departments. Contemporaries claim again and again that their portraits seem to put you in the presence of a ...

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