Books about Eleanor of Aquitaine?
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For Women's History Month, in March, I always read at least one appropriate book. (I know I'm very early asking.)
I've decided that this coming year, I'd like to read about Eleanor of Aquitaine, whom I know almost nothing about.
I would especially love a biography that is as readable as fiction, if that makes sense, but all recommendations are welcome.
Thanks, in advance. I appreciate your input.
I read the Alison Weir bio, Eleanor of Aquitaine, but I wouldn't say it read like fiction. I enjoyed it though.
I've read Alison Weir's biography of Eleanor of Aquitaine also, and while I normally love dense biographies, I found it really boring. I don't know if you're interested in well-researched historical fiction, but Sharon Kay Penman has a series that starts with When Christ and his Saints Slept that focuses on Eleanor of Aquitaine. I haven't read this yet, but I've read several of her other books and found them well-researched and very readable.
Thanks to you both for your quick responses! I'll take both recommendations under consideration.
I read the Weir bio also. I agree with Sakerfalcon that it doesn't read like fiction. It also seemed a bit light on details about Eleanor herself, focusing more on Eleanor in the context of her husband and sons. Perhaps there isn't much factual material available about her, but I would have enjoyed reading more of her story.
Amy Kelly's 1959 bio of Eleanor is still recommended as among the most readable and charming. I enjoyed it.
If you're interested in works inspired by Eleanor, perhaps you could read Marie de France's fables, available on Google Books, if you can stand to read online. Marie's identity is uncertain, but she may have been Eleanor's daughter, Marie, Countess of Champagne. The works are certainly influenced by Eleanor's Court of Love at Poitiers.
Chretien de Troyes (although a man) might also be an in interesting choice. He enjoyed the patronage of Eleanor and Marie, and it's fairly clear that he reworked Arthurian legend to flesh out their notions of courtly love. His (and Marie and Eleanor's) version of Arthur's story is the one that is best known (with some diddling by Mallory) today.
The ORB has a good annotated bib on Eleanor you might find helpful:
Just chiming in because I really liked Alison Weir's bio of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Apparently, she is an ancestor of mine (descended along with thousands of people, no doubt) and I really got into it.
I haven't read it, but have had Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings recommended to me. I have read Sharon Kay Penman, and she's excellent.
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