Jean de Joinville Criticism - Essay

Ethel Wedgwood (essay date 1906)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: A preface to The Memoirs of the Lord of Joinville: A New English Version, E. P. Dutton, 1906, pp. vi-ix.

[In the following essay, Wedgwood comments on Joinville's life and his style in Vie de Saint Louis.Wedgwood observes that while Joinville was not a skilled chronicler, his work is characterized by “directness and simplicity.”]

Six hundred years ago, when the histories of Europe still lay buried among the Latin Charter Rolls of great abbeys,—before Piers Plowman had yet voiced the English conscience in the English tongue,—and when Dante was just turning to look back on half his life's journey,—John, Lord of Joinville, full of days and...

(The entire section is 894 words.)

Frank Marzials (essay date 1908)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: An introduction to Memoirs of the Crusaders by Villehardouin and de Joinville, translated by Frank Marzials, E. P. Dutton, 1908, pp. xxvii-xxxiii.

[In the following essay, Marzials provides a brief biographical discussion of Joinville, followed by an overview of the style of Vie de Saint Louis. Marzials also analyzes Joinville's characterization of King Louis.]

… Joinville was born, it is believed, in 1224. He embarked with St. Lewis for the Crusade on the 28th August 1248; he returned to France in the July of 1254. His Memoirs, as he himself tells us, were written, i.e. concluded, in the month of October, 1309, that is to say, when he was...

(The entire section is 2705 words.)

Alfred Foulet (essay date 1941)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: “When Did Joinville Write His Vie de Saint Louis?,” The Romantic Review, Vol. XXXII, No. 3, October, 1941, pp. 233–43.

[In the following essay, Foulet dates the various sections of Joinville's Vie de Saint Louis, and argues against the theory that a majority of the work consists of personal reminiscences composed as early as 1272-73.]

While leading his second crusade against the Saracens, King Louis IX of France died of the plague near Carthage, August 25, 1270. Twenty-seven years later (August 1297), after three separate inquests into his saintly virtues and the miracles ascribed to him after his death, he was canonized by Pope Boniface...

(The entire section is 5191 words.)

Newton S. Bement (essay date 1947)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: “Latin Remnants in Joinville's French,” Philological Quarterly, Vol. XXVI, No. 4, October, 1947, pp. 289–301.

[In the following essay, Bement analyzes the extant text of Vie de Saint Louis in order to determine how the French language of the time incorporated various remnants of Latin. Bement concludes that the text includes many such remnants that have led modern scholars to maintain that the text exhibits a certain “disorder” or “confusion.” Such “orthographical variety,” Bement argues, caused no confusion among thirteenth- and fourteenth-century writers and readers.]

Definition of title is here not only a primary consideration but...

(The entire section is 5504 words.)

Helmut Hatzfeld (essay date 1948)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: “A Sketch of Joinville's Prose Style,” in Mediaeval Studies, edited by Urban T. Holmes, Jr., Harvard University Press, 1948, pp. 71–80.

[In the essay that follows, Hatzfeld provides a technical analysis of Joinville's style and descriptive methodology in Vie de Saint Louis.]

Histories of Old French Literature of the future will present a new schema; besides the customary type and amount of information, they will include style sketches of the individual authors. These sketches will be objective if they are based on correct analysis, not on impressions. They will be unequivocal if they place in relief the nuances in the single forms of expression,...

(The entire section is 2429 words.)

Lionel J. Friedman (essay date 1953)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: “A Mode of Medieval Thought in Joinville's Credo,” Modern Language Notes, Vol. LXVIII, No. 7, November, 1953, pp. 446–53.

[In the following essay, Friedman discusses a particular mode of thought employed by Joinville in the Credo.This common medieval methodology was used to combine similar Biblical quotations into a new statement. Friedman maintains that critical ignorance of this mode of reasoning used by Joinville has caused some confusion regarding what constitutes a quotation in the Credo.]

In the opening paragraph of the Credo, Joinville carefully warns those who will see and hear the work that the illustration is according to...

(The entire section is 2147 words.)

Rene Hague (essay date 1955)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: An introduction to “The Life of St. Louis,” by John of Joinville, translated by Rene Hague, Sheed and Ward, 1955, pp. 1–19.

[In the following essay, Hague reviews the debate surrounding the dating of Vie de Saint Louis, comments on the content of the work, and offers an overview of the textual history of the extant manuscripts.]

John of Joinville was a man whose generous spirit was easily moved to admiration; particularly was he moved when he saw a man of high rank sacrificing all that was dear and devoting even his life to what was to him the greatest of all causes: the armed fight against the enemies of the faith and the protection or rescue of...

(The entire section is 8162 words.)

Lionel J. Friedman (essay date 1958)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: “Text and Iconography for Joinville's Credo,” in Text and Iconography for Joinville's “Credo,” The Mediaeval Academy of America, 1958, pp. 1–27.

[In the following essay, Friedman analyzes the relationship between the extant versions of the text of the Credoand the extant versions of the work's iconography.]

1. The account in the Vie de saint Louis of his life at Acre makes no mention of an activity which has assumed importance in Joinville's literary biography: the composition of the Credo between the months of August 1250 and April 1251. The lessons of Saint Louis reported in sections 43-45 of the Vie are generally...

(The entire section is 10111 words.)

Paul Archambault (essay date 1974)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: “Joinville: History as Chivalric Code,” in Seven French Chroniclers: Witness to History, Syracuse University Press, 1974, pp. 44–57, 129–31.

[In the following essay, Archambault argues that critics have failed to recognize Joinville's criticism of King Louis in Vie de Saint Louis. The work is less about King Louis, Archambault maintains, than it is about the noble class and the nature of “preudome” as an institution in which Christian values, linked with the concept of nobility, are upheld to the best of one's ability.]

Villehardouin's chronicle was composed a short time after the events narrated in order to justify a series of decisions the...

(The entire section is 8602 words.)

Maureen Slattery (essay date 1985)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: An Introduction to Myth, Man, and Sovereign Saint: King Louis IX in Jean de Joinville's Sources, Peter Lang, 1985, pp. 1–31.

[In the following essay, Slattery offers an overview of the dating controversy surrounding Joinville's Vie de Saint Louis and discusses the structure of the work, the sources from which Joinville may have drawn, the history of the early manuscripts, and the purpose of the work.]


Few would care to contest Bacon's observation that the invention of printing, gunpowder and the compass changed the form of civilization. But many of our medieval sources have been studied as if...

(The entire section is 10112 words.)