Power, Eileen: The Goodman of Paris.

Power(ed.), Eileen - The Goodman of Paris: A Treatise on Moral and Domestic Economy by A Citizen of Paris c1393. Folio Society, 1993, second impression. Translated, introduced and annotated by Eileen Power. TOWARDS the end of the fourteenth century, an elderly and wealthy Parisian married a young orphan girl of fiffeen. Soon affer the wedding, she begged him not to correct her inexperience in public, but to wait until they were alone together. Full of sympathy for the 'wedded child', he wrote her instead 'an easy general introduction' to the art of being a perfect lady and housewife. The result is one of the most delightful books to have survived from this period. The Goodman of Paris divided his manual into two main sections. The first deals with the religious and moral duties of a wife - 'the salvafion of vour soul and the comfort of your husband' - including a series of beautiful prayers for all occasions, and a thorough dissection of the seven deadly sins, illustrated with charming vignettes drawn from daily life. The second is an astonishingly extensive treatise on practical household management, from the cultivation of pumpkins - 'in April water them courteously and transplant them' - to the extermination of fleas. There are also recipes for all occasions, such as 'eels reversed', 'frizzled beans' and 'frumenty of porpoise', to complete this unique picture of medieval married life. (Folio Society). 10" x 6¾", 252pp plus 10 plates, green cloth, colour inlay on front board, gold blocked spine lettering, hardback. Index. Illustrated with full-colour French medieval miniatures. Slightly sunned spine (green is amongst the worst cloth colours for fading, even in dark rooms); fine, complete with slip-case that has a couple of slight marks.

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