The Book of Geoffroi de Charny
with the <I>Livre Charny</I>
The poem known as the Livre Charny (Charny's Book), by the 14th century French knight Geoffroi de Charny, has never been published, Nigel Bryant's brilliant new translation of this long-neglected poem, based on a hithertooverlooked original Charny manuscript housed in Oxford, vividly conveys Charny's self-deprecating and extraordinarily down-to-earth attitudes towards the knightly career.
Charny is surprisingly blunt in his descriptions of the mishaps and mortal dangers to be expected, from losing in a tournament, to homesickness on crusade, to being concussed whilst attempting to scale an enemy tower. Nothing else quite like it is to be found in medieval literature.
Ian Wilson's introduction provides a markedly revised understanding of Charny's career as tournament performer, serving soldier, crusader, councillor, and finally royal standard-bearer: he was killed at Poitiers in 1356.
Bryant and Wilson also argue that Charny's Book is so different in style from the Book of Chivalry, also attributed to him. Using the evidence of a hitherto unnoticed manuscript in Madrid, They show that the latter is likely to be a work of the 1380s composed by Charny's son of the same name, possibly as a kind of memorial to his heroic father.