Liza Picard - Chaucer's People - Orion Publishing Group

Time remaining

  • -- days
  • -- hours
  • -- minutes
  • -- seconds
Other Formats
  • E-Book £P.O.R.
    More information
    • ISBN:9780297609049
    • Publication date:05 Oct 2017
  • Downloadable audio file £P.O.R.
    More information
    • ISBN:9781409170877
    • Publication date:05 Oct 2017

Chaucer's People

Everyday Lives in Medieval England

By Liza Picard

  • Hardback
  • £25.00

A fascinating exploration of the Middle Ages through the lives of Geoffrey Chaucer's pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales.

'A holiday in the complex, joyful, indelicate medieval world' John Higgs, author of Watling Street

'Weaves an infinity of small details into an arresting tapestry of life in fourteenth-century England' Paul Strohm, The Spectator

The Middle Ages were turbulent times. In the fourteenth century alone, England was ravaged by war, plague, revolt and the overthrow of a king. Among the surviving records, the poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer is the most vivid. But what does it tell us about the everyday lives of medieval men and women? What did people eat, wear, read and think?

Through the assorted cast of pilgrims Chaucer selected for The Canterbury Tales, Liza Picard brings medieval social history to life. These are lives led beyond the court circles frequented by most of Chaucer's well-heeled audience - lives spent at the pedal of a loom or in uncharted waters on the high seas.

Chaucer would sometimes raise a thought-provoking query in an apparently simple portrait. The Prioress was a sweet, pretty, well-mannered young nun; what was she doing on the road to Canterbury with a mixed band of men, instead of staying in her convent to pray? The Knight was 'a very perfect gentle knight'; but why had his military service landed him in such distant places as Lithuania and Spain? By providing these characters with a three-dimensional framework - the times in which they lived - Picard opens up the fourteenth-century world to us. Drawing on contemporary experiences of a vast range of subjects including trade, religion, toe-curling remedies and hair-raising recipes, Chaucer's People recreates the medieval world in all its glorious detail.

Biographical Notes

Liza Picard was born in 1927. She is the bestselling author an acclaimed series of books on the history of London: Elizabeth's London, Restoration London, Dr Johnson's London and Victorian London. Her most recent book, Chaucer's People, explores the Middle Ages through the lives of the pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales.

She read law at the London School of Economics and was called to the Bar by Gray's Inn, but did not practise. She worked for many years in the office of the Solicitor of the Inland Revenue before retiring to become a full-time author. She lives in London.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9780297609032
  • Publication date: 05 Oct 2017
  • Page count: 368
  • Imprint: W&N
Liza Picard, a chronicler of London society across the centuries, now weaves an infinity of small details into an arresting tapestry of life in 14th-century England. Her technique - pursued with the verve and spirit for which she is already justly admired - is to celebrate Chaucer's pilgrim portraits by resituating them within an enlarged field of medieval practices and assumptions ... Picard concludes with a speculative Chaucer continuation ... Most notably, she - a woman who has herself lived long and thought much - creates an inner monologue for the Wife of Bath, who, after visiting the shrine, drifts into a Molly Bloomian soliloquy, reflecting on the pros, cons, and possible personal advantages of taking the veil. As in the rest of the book, we here encounter not presumption but homage, an enthusiast enacting her respect for Chaucer's enduring and indelible accomplishment
Chaucer's pilgrims are the first historical characters who feel like real people, and now Liza Picard makes their world as vivid and three-dimensional as the merry band themselves. Chaucer's People is a holiday in the complex, joyful, indelicate medieval world - an approachable, engaging and highly recommended account of an England which is long gone, but whose spirit lingers
As you read this book, Chaucer's writing gains a depth and pungency it usually lacks ... Sometimes these snippets, in their oddness, distance the toiling pilgrims from us. At others, they bring them much closer ... There is a Chaucerian pleasure in plain sentences, plainly written. This is more almanac than argument, but no less enjoyable for that. If you were to reread The Canterbury Tales, you'd get so much more from it with this at your side ... And there are some excellent titbits
An absorbing and revealing companion volume to The Canterbury Tales
Wonderfully readable and full of delights ... It buoyed me up with its brilliant insights, many of them entirely new to me
Engaging and fun ... The premise of this entertaining book is to provide historical context for the multitude of figures in Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. It is well researched and packed with intriguing nuggets - from the etymology of the word "haberdasher" (from an old Icelandic word meaning a pedlar's sack), to the story of Richard Steris, "one of the cunningest players at the tenys in England", and a wonderful selection of medieval recipes ... Picard provides a wealth of detail both about the occupations of the various characters, and the wider contexts in which they operated. The section on the overwhelmingly complex nature of medieval law is particularly clear and effective
Chaucer's fourteenth-century story collection The Canterbury Tales is a classic hook on which to hang an exploration of the Middle Ages, and this take pleasingly spirals outwards to cover the characters (the nun, the knight, the miller) and the lives they would have led
Instructive fun ... The writing is always lively, and there are excellent colour illustrations
Brings to life the social history of a period we still know little about. A jolly good read for historians
Liza Picard, a chronicler of London society across the centuries, now weaves an infinity of small details into an arresting tapestry of life in 14th-century England. Her technique - pursued with the verve and spirit for which she is already justly admired - is to celebrate Chaucer's pilgrim portraits by resituating them within an enlarged field of medieval practices and assumptions ... Picard concludes with a speculative Chaucer continuation ... Most notably, she - a woman who has herself lived long and thought much - creates an inner monologue for the Wife of Bath, who, after visiting the shrine, drifts into a Molly Bloomian soliloquy, reflecting on the pros, cons, and possible personal advantages of taking the veil. As in the rest of the book, we here encounter not presumption but homage, an enthusiast enacting her respect for Chaucer's enduring and indelible accomplishment — Paul Strohm, The Spectator
Chaucer's pilgrims are the first historical characters who feel like real people, and now Liza Picard makes their world as vivid and three-dimensional as the merry band themselves. Chaucer's People is a holiday in the complex, joyful, indelicate medieval world - an approachable, engaging and highly recommended account of an England which is long gone, but whose spirit lingers — John Higgs, author of Watling Street
As you read this book, Chaucer's writing gains a depth and pungency it usually lacks ... Sometimes these snippets, in their oddness, distance the toiling pilgrims from us. At others, they bring them much closer ... There is a Chaucerian pleasure in plain sentences, plainly written. This is more almanac than argument, but no less enjoyable for that. If you were to reread The Canterbury Tales, you'd get so much more from it with this at your side ... And there are some excellent titbits — Catherine Nixey, The Times
An absorbing and revealing companion volume to The Canterbury Tales — The Oldie
Wonderfully readable and full of delights ... It buoyed me up with its brilliant insights, many of them entirely new to me — John Simpson, BBC World Affairs Editor
Engaging and fun ... The premise of this entertaining book is to provide historical context for the multitude of figures in Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. It is well researched and packed with intriguing nuggets - from the etymology of the word "haberdasher" (from an old Icelandic word meaning a pedlar's sack), to the story of Richard Steris, "one of the cunningest players at the tenys in England", and a wonderful selection of medieval recipes ... Picard provides a wealth of detail both about the occupations of the various characters, and the wider contexts in which they operated. The section on the overwhelmingly complex nature of medieval law is particularly clear and effective — Hannah Skoda, BBC History Magazine
Chaucer's fourteenth-century story collection The Canterbury Tales is a classic hook on which to hang an exploration of the Middle Ages, and this take pleasingly spirals outwards to cover the characters (the nun, the knight, the miller) and the lives they would have led — History Revealed
Instructive fun ... The writing is always lively, and there are excellent colour illustrations — Dr G. R. Evans, Church Times
Brings to life the social history of a period we still know little about. A jolly good read for historians — This England
Orion

The House of Shadows

Kate Williams
Authors:
Kate Williams
W&N

The Real Lolita

Sarah Weinman
Authors:
Sarah Weinman

Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita is one of the most beloved and notorious novels of all time. And yet, very few of its readers know that the subject of the novel was inspired by a real-life case: the 1948 abduction of eleven-year-old Sally Horner.Weaving together suspenseful crime narrative, cultural and social history, and literary investigation, The Real Lolita tells Sally Horner's full story for the very first time. Drawing upon extensive investigations, legal documents, public records and interviews with remaining relatives, Sarah Weinman uncovers how much Nabokov knew of the Sally Horner case and the efforts he took to disguise that knowledge during the process of writing and publishing Lolita.Sally Horner's story echoes the stories of countless girls and women who never had the chance to speak for themselves. By diving deeper in the publication history of Lolita and restoring Sally to her rightful place in the lore of the novel's creation, The Real Lolita casts a new light on the dark inspiration for a modern classic.

W&N

The Story of Britain

Roy Strong
Authors:
Roy Strong

THE CLASSIC HISTORY OF BRITAIN, FULLY UPDATEDRoy Strong has written an exemplary introduction to the history of Britain, as first designated by the Romans. It is a brilliant and balanced account of successive ages bound together by a compelling narrative which answers the questions: 'Where do we come from?' and 'Where are we going?'Beginning with the earliest recorded Celtic times, and ending with the present day of Brexit Britain, it is a remarkable achievement. With his passion, enthusiasm and wide-ranging knowledge, he is the ideal narrator. His book should be read by anyone, anywhere, who cares about Britain's national past, national identity and national prospects. Richly enjoyable, The Story of Britain will inform and enlighten readers as to how we arrived at where we are today - and why.

Trapeze

Grime Kids

DJ Target
Authors:
DJ Target
W&N

Daughters of the Winter Queen

Nancy Goldstone
Authors:
Nancy Goldstone

In a sweeping narrative encompassing political intrigue, illicit love affairs and even a murder mystery, Nancy Goldstone tells the riveting story of a queen who lost her throne, and of her four defiant daughters.Elizabeth Stuart's marriage to a German count far below her rank was arranged with the understanding that her father, James I of England, would help his new son-in-law achieve the crown of Bohemia. The terrible betrayal of this promise would ruin 'the Winter Queen', as Elizabeth would forever be known, imperil the lives of those she loved and launch a war that would last thirty years. Forced into exile, the Winter Queen found refuge for her growing family in Holland, where the glorious art and culture of the Dutch Golden Age formed the backdrop to her daughters' education. The eldest, Princess Elizabeth, counted the philosopher René Descartes as her closest friend. Louisa, whose lively manner would provoke heartache and scandal, was a gifted artist. Henrietta Maria, the beauty of the family, would achieve the dynastic ambition of marrying into royalty, although at great cost. But it was the youngest, Sophia, a heroine in the tradition of Jane Austen, with a ready wit and strength of character, who would fulfil the promise of her great-grandmother Mary, Queen of Scots, a legacy which endures to this day.

W&N

Making a Noise

John Tusa
Authors:
John Tusa

In almost sixty years of professional life, John Tusa has fought for and sometimes against the major arts and political institutions in the country. A distinguished journalist, broadcaster and leader of arts organisations, he has stood up publicly for the independence of the BBC, the need for public funding of the arts and for the integrity of universities. He has made enemies in the process. From the battles to create the ground-breaking Newsnight in 1979, to six years of defending the BBC World Service from political interference, Tusa's account is etched with candour. His account of two years of internecine warfare at the top of the BBC under the Chairman, 'Dukey' Hussey will go down as a major contribution to BBC history. His recollections of a hilarious and petty-minded few months as head of a Cambridge college will be read as a case study of the absurdities of academic life; while running the rejected and maligned Barbican Centre, Tusa led its recovery into the major cultural centre that it is today.Often based on personal diaries, Making a Noise is a fearless and entertaining memoir of life at the top of the arts and broadcasting.

W&N

Scenes and Apparitions

Roy Strong
Authors:
Roy Strong
W&N

Richard III

Chris Skidmore
Authors:
Chris Skidmore
W&N

Watling Street

John Higgs
Authors:
John Higgs

A journey along one of Britain's oldest roads, from Dover to Anglesey, in search of the hidden history that makes us who we are today.Long ago a path was created by the passage of feet tramping through endless forests. Gradually that path became a track, and the track became a road. It connected the White Cliffs of Dover to the Druid groves of the Welsh island of Anglesey, across a land that was first called Albion then Britain, Mercia and eventually England and Wales. Armies from Rome arrived and straightened this 444 kilometres of meandering track, which in the Dark Ages gained the name Watling Street. Today, this ancient road goes by many different names: the A2, the A5 and the M6 Toll. It is a palimpsest that is always being rewritten.Watling Street is a road of witches and ghosts, of queens and highwaymen, of history and myth, of Chaucer, Dickens and James Bond. Along this route Boudicca met her end, the Battle of Bosworth changed royal history, Bletchley Park code breakers cracked Nazi transmissions and Capability Brown remodelled the English landscape. The myriad people who use this road every day might think it unremarkable, but, as John Higgs shows, it hides its secrets in plain sight. Watling Street is not just the story of a route across our island, but an acutely observed, unexpected exploration of Britain and who we are today, told with wit and flair, and an unerring eye for the curious and surprising.

W&N

Dolce Vita Confidential

Shawn Levy
Authors:
Shawn Levy
W&N

Japanese Society

Chie Nakane
Authors:
Chie Nakane

Why do the Japanese almost always go for holidays in groups? Do Japanese families experience our sort of 'family life'? Why do conversations with Japanese friends and acquaintances often seem to come to an abrupt halt just when they're getting interesting - that is, a little controversial? What motivates the Japanese man in the street? Professor Nakane, writing with an intimate knowledge of her own people, provides in this fascinating book the answers to these and many other perplexing questions. Using the structure of Japanese society as the basis of her analysis, rather than explaining it in cultural or historical terms, Professor Nakane begins by examining one-to-one relationships, following through to the structure of the group and finally that of the society as a whole.

W&N

Worktown

David Hall
Authors:
David Hall
W&N

The Rival Queens

Nancy Goldstone
Authors:
Nancy Goldstone

Set in Renaissance France at the magnificent court of the Valois kings, THE RIVAL QUEENS is the history of two remarkable women, a mother and daughter driven into opposition by a terrible betrayal that threatened to destroy the realm. Catherine de' Medici, the infamous queen mother of France, was a consummate pragmatist and powerbroker who dominated the throne for 30 years. Her youngest daughter Marguerite, the glamorous 'Queen Margot', was a passionate free spirit, the only adversary whom her mother could neither intimidate nor control. When Catherine forces the Catholic Marguerite to marry her Protestant cousin Henry of Navarre against her will, and then uses her opulent Parisian wedding as a means of luring his Huguenot followers to their deaths, in the notorious St Bartholomew's Day Massacre of 1572, she creates not only savage conflict within France but also a potent rival within her own family. Rich in historical detail and vivid prose, Nancy Goldstone's narrative unfolds as a thrilling historical epic. Treacherous court politics, poisonings, international espionage and adultery form the background to a story whose fascinating array of characters include such celebrated figures as Elizabeth I, Mary, Queen of Scots, and Nostradamus. From Catherine's early struggles with her husband's exquisite mistress, Diane de Poitiers, and her exultant rise to power, through Marguerite's poignant sacrifice of love and happiness to save her husband's life, and ultimately to the political awakening that leads to a threat to her very survival, THE RIVAL QUEENS is a dangerous tale of love, betrayal, ambition and the true nature of courage, the echoes of which still resonate.

W&N

A Million Years in a Day

Greg Jenner
Authors:
Greg Jenner

'A wonderful idea, gloriously put into practice. Greg Jenner is as witty as he is knowledgeable' - Tom Holland'You will love Greg Jenner's jolly account of how we have more in common with our ancestors than we might think ... all human life is here, amusingly conveyed in intriguing nuggets of gossipy historical anecdote' - Daily MailEvery day, from the moment our alarm clock wakes us in the morning until our head hits our pillow at night, we all take part in rituals that are millennia old. In this gloriously entertaining romp through human history - featuring new updates for the paperback edition - BBC Horrible Histories consultant Greg Jenner explores the hidden stories behind these daily routines.This is not a story of politics, wars or great events, instead Greg Jenner has scoured Roman rubbish bins, Egyptian tombs and Victorian sewers to bring us the most intriguing, surprising and sometimes downright silly nuggets from our past.It is a history of all those things you always wondered - and many you have never considered. It is the story of our lives, one million years in the making.

W&N

Empire of the Deep

Ben Wilson
Authors:
Ben Wilson
W&N

Bosworth

Chris Skidmore
Authors:
Chris Skidmore
W&N

Disraeli

Douglas Hurd, Edward Young
Authors:
Douglas Hurd, Edward Young

Benjamin Disraeli was the most gifted parliamentarian of the nineteenth century and a superb orator, writer and wit - but how much do we really know about the man behind the words?'As Douglas Hurd and Edward Young point out in their splendidly written, finely judged and thoroughly persuasive book, a vast chasm yawned between the real Disraeli and his posthumous reinvention' Dominic Sandbrook, SUNDAY TIMES'Not only, they tell us in this vigorously debunking romp through his political life, did he never use the phrases "One Nation" or "Tory Democracy", he was actively hostile to the concepts that they are now understood to represent' Sam Leith, THE SPECTATOR'The book is more a study in character . . . than a staid political narrative. As a result, Disraeli: Or the Two Lives is full of unexpected jolts and paradoxes . . . It proves an unflagging pleasure to read' Richard Davenport-Hines, GUARDIAN'So intoxicating that you will find yourself snorting it up in one go, as I did, with great pleasure' Boris Johnson, MAIL ON SUNDAY

W&N

The Fishing Fleet

Anne de Courcy
Authors:
Anne de Courcy

The adventurous young women who sailed to India during the Raj in search of husbands.From the late 19th century, when the Raj was at its height, many of Britain's best and brightest young men went out to India to work as administrators, soldiers and businessmen. With the advent of steam travel and the opening of the Suez Canal, countless young women, suffering at the lack of eligible men in Britain, followed in their wake. This amorphous band was composed of daughters returning after their English education, girls invited to stay with married sisters or friends, and yet others whose declared or undeclared goal was simply to find a husband. They were known as the Fishing Fleet, and this book is their story, hitherto untold.For these young women, often away from home for the first time, one thing they could be sure of was a rollicking good time. By the early 20th century, a hectic social scene was in place, with dances, parties, amateur theatricals, picnics, tennis tournaments, cinemas and gymkhanas, with perhaps a tiger shoot and a glittering dinner at a raja's palace thrown in. And, with men outnumbering women by roughly four to one, romances were conducted at alarming speed and marriages were frequent. But after the honeymoon, life often changed dramatically: whisked off to a remote outpost with few other Europeans for company, and where constant vigilance was required to guard against disease, they found it a far cry from the social whirlwind of their first arrival.Anne de Courcy's sparkling narrative is enriched by a wealth of first-hand sources - unpublished memoirs, letters and diaries rescued from attics - which bring this forgotten era vividly to life.

W&N

Bedford Park

Bryan Appleyard
Authors:
Bryan Appleyard
W&N

1939: The Last Season

Anne de Courcy
Authors:
Anne de Courcy

A wonderful portrait of British upper-class life in the Season of 1939 - the last before the Second World War.The Season of 1939 brought all those 'in Society' to London. The young debutante daughters of the upper classes were presented to the King and Queen to mark their acceptance into the new adult world of their parents. They sparkled their way through a succession of balls and parties and sporting events.The Season brought together influential people not only from Society but also from Government at the various events of the social calendar. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain chaperoned his debutante niece to weekend house parties; Lord Halifax, the Foreign Secretary, lunched with the Headmaster of Eton; Cabinet Ministers encountered foreign Ambassadors at balls in the houses of the great hostesses. As the hot summer drew on, the newspapers filled with ever more ominous reports of the relentless progress towards war. There was nothing to do but wait - and dance. The last season of peace was nearly over.