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The Travels of Sir John Mandeville by John…

The Travels of Sir John Mandeville

by John Mandeville

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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547728,515 (3.48)9
One of the most influential books of the medieval period, John Mandeville's fourteenth-century work was written, ostensibly, to encourage and instruct pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land. A thorough compendium of medieval lore, the travel book proved to be a great success throughout Europe. (Among his alleged readers were Leonardo da Vinci and Christopher Columbus.) The Travels professes to relate Mandeville's experiences in the Holy Land, Egypt, India, and China-where he served in the Great Khan's army-followed by his journey to "the lands beyond," countries populated by "dog-headed men, cannibals, Amazons, and pygmies." Five centuries after Mandeville recorded his observations in those distant lands, the volume's remarkably exacting accounts of events and geography were found to be probable fabrications. Nevertheless, the book's widespread popularity and influence make it essential to the study of medieval English literature. An engaging mix of fact and fantasy, enhanced with more than 100 rare woodcut illustrations, it has retained its place as one of the greatest and most entertaining works of early English vernacular prose. Book jacket.… (more)



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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
In the fourteenth century, John Mandeville (a man who did not exist) sat down to write a Book of Marvels and Travels (about places he'd never been to.) Although many other reviewers on this site have referred to this book as either a novel or a travel memoir, it's neither. Instead, it's a glimpse at what people in medieval western Europe thought lay beyond the horizon, from the fantastical to the mundane. I read this in Anthony Bale's OUP edition, which provides an excellent modern translation from the Middle English, preserving much of the syntax while avoiding archaising confusion. Very good for use in the classroom. ( )
  siriaeve | Jun 19, 2019 |
It's a great socio-historical document, but the decision to stick to French-turned-English sentence constructions as well as the then common habit of repeating information slow down reading to the point where it becomes tiresome. I also disliked the fact that the supplementary explanatory notes had no indications on the related pages/passages. ( )
  oOArankaOo | Apr 2, 2018 |
So, clearly "John Mandeville" did not go everywhere he claims, since he saw wooly chickens and people with no heads and so on and so forth.

Parts of this book were entertaining, especially the chapters on Cathay and those on what is now south/southeast Asia in general. But this is very frustrating to read, and not just because of the old fashioned language. Chapters and chapters devoted to every tiny biblical location detail. Total lack of directional sense, or a map (though clearly it would be hard to put headless people, and people with a huge foot they each use as their shade, and the Amazons on any sort of useful map).

I am sure that for scholars of literature of the 14th century, this may be especially interesting, especially when compared to the bible and other sources/stories. But for a layperson just reading it, it is not so exciting. ( )
  Dreesie | Apr 12, 2016 |
teaching for the first time this Spring. this will have to do for a review at least until tomorrow. ( )
  karl.steel | Apr 2, 2013 |
I have to be honest and say that I had never heard of this work, at least so far as I can recall, until I found a used copy of it in the bookshelves of my local Goodwill. But I'm very happy that I found it! The text is fascinating in its own right as it presents us with the perspective of an Englishman of the 14th century looking at, examining, and perhaps actually exploring the wider world around him, including a great diversity of cultures and geographic locations. This makes it interesting as both a historical work -- a real firsthand perspective that touches on these interesting topics -- and also a study in psychology and sociology, as we view his views of these various cultures. The work is, as I learned through the introduction and notes which accompany this addition, also important for the effect it had on European thought in the years leading up to and somewhat after the discovery of the Americas by Europeans. I recommend this book to those with a love for history and culture. ( )
  davidpwithun | Sep 16, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Mandevilleprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bale, AnthonyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moseley, C. W. R. D.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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dilectissimis pignoribus
Antoniae Justinoque
qui mirabilia Domini videant
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Since it is so that the land beyond the sea, that is to say the Land of Promise which men call the Holy land, among all other Lands is the most worthy land and mistress over all others, and is blessed and hallowed and consecrated by the precious blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ; in which land it pleased Him to take life and blood by Our Lady Saint Mary and to travel round that land with His blessed feet.
To almost every one sooner or later comes a time when the chosen idol is thrown headlong from the niche of honour, and likes hopelessly shattered; for even though Aberglaube may never have invaded the sanctuary, the strokes dealt by the Zeitgeist are none the less destructive.
For as much as the Land beyond the Sea, that is to say the Holy Land, that Men call the Land of Promise or of Behest, passing all other Lands, is the most worthy Land, most excellent, and Lady and Sovereign of all other Lands, and is blessed and hallowed by the precious Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; in the which Land it liked Him to take Flesh and Blood of the Virgin Mary, to honour that Holy Land with His blessed Feet; and there He would of His Blessedness enshadow Him in the said blessed and glorious Virgin Mary, and become Man, and work many Miracles, and preach and teach the Faith and the Law of Christian Men unto His Children....
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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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