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Honorable Mention Recipient, 2011 MLA Scaglione Prize for an Outstanding
Translation of a Literary Work
"The Book of John Mandeville, one of the most important medieval travel books, has been translated into English from the original Anglo-Norman French for the first time since the late fourteenth century. Iain Macleod Higgins's accurate, readable, and judiciously edited rendering now supersedes the modernizations of Middle English versions that have hitherto been the English-speaking world's chief access to a work second only to Marco Polo's Travels in its influence and the duration of its popularity. Higgins's copious annotation, detailed index, and inclusion of translated excerpts from Mandeville's sources and other relevant texts make this a historically important contribution to our knowledge of medieval travel literature and of Western perceptions of non-Western peoples. Impressive scholarship combines with skillful translation of a medieval work with great modern relevance."
—Modern Language Association
A fictive traveler’s guide to the East, both Near and Far, The Book of John Mandeville was a late-medieval best seller, more popular in its day than Marco Polo’s Travels.
In addition to a fresh, vibrant translation—the first from the Middle French original since the fifteenth century—this edition of The Book of John Mandeville offers a succinct, broad-ranging Introduction to the work that touches on the question of authorship, the sources on which the text drew, and the transformation and reception of the work down to the present day.
Also included are notes setting the work in its historical and cultural context and selections from related texts, including significant textual variants from William of Boldensele’s Book of Certain Regions beyond the Mediterranean and Odoric of Pordenone’s Relatio.
Iain Macleod Higgins is Associate Professor of English and Director of Medieval Studies, University of Victoria.
The Book of John Mandeville
Appendix A: Variants and Versions
1. The Insular and Continental French Versions
2. The Interpolated Continental (Liège) Version
3. Three English Versions
4. Two German Versions
5. The Vulgate Latin Version
Appendix B: The Sources of The Book of John Mandeville
1. William of Boldensele, Book of Certain Regions beyond the Mediterranean (Excerpt)
2. (Pseudo-)William of Tripoli, Treatise on the State of the Saracens (Excerpt)
3. Odoric of Pordenone, Account (Excerpt)
4. How to Mount a Crusade Overseas (Excerpt)
5. Hayton of Armenia, Flower of the Histories of the Land of the East (Excerpt)
Appendix C: Contexts and Commentary
1. A Note on Geography and Cosmology
2. A Note on the Astrolabe
3. A Note on the Alphabets
4. A Note on the Account of the Sultans in Chapter 6
5. A Note on the Mongol Emperors and Their Early Empire
Works Cited and Select Bibliography
Index of Scriptural and Related Citations in Latin
Select Index of Proper Names