Historians Reconsidered: Jean Froissart

C.T. Allmand introduces the chronicler, Jean Froissart, who left to posterity a fascinating account of the events and attitudes of his age, which he himself mirrored so faithfully.

It is a moot point whether Jean Froissart may be called an historian at all, for his real skill lay in description, not interpretation. Born at Valenciennes, probably in 1337, at the time when Edward III was about to begin his long war against Valois France, Froissart read romances and poetry at an early age, and when little more than a boy was composing them himself.

The sentiments he expressed in his Espinette Amoureuse, typical of his day, were to remain with him all his life. In 1361 he crossed to England to enter the service of Edward III’s queen, Philippa, who also came from Valenciennes. His main duty now was the composition of dittiers et trettiés amoureuses, and in these he was freely able to indulge his love of chivalric action and courtly pageantry.

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