Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings

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Harvard University Press, 1978 - Biography & Autobiography - 427 pages
34 Reviews
The story of that amazingly influential and still somewhat mysterious woman, Eleanor of Aquitaine, has the dramatic interest of a novel. She was at the very center of the rich culture and clashing politics of the twelfth century. Richest marriage prize of the Middle Ages, she was Queen of France as the wife of Louis VII, and went with him on the exciting and disastrous Second Crusade. Inspiration of troubadours and trouv√®res, she played a large part in rendering fashionable the Courts of Love and in establishing the whole courtly tradition of medieval times. Divorced from Louis, she married Henry Plantagenet, who became Henry II of England. Her resources and resourcefulness helped Henry win his throne, she was involved in the conflict over Thomas Becket, and, after Henry‚e(tm)s death, she handled the affairs of the Angevin empire with a sagacity that brought her the trust and confidence of popes and kings and emperors.Having been first a Capet and then a Plantagenet, Queen Eleanor was the central figure in the bitter rivalry between those houses for the control of their continental domains‚e"a rivalry that excited the whole period: after Henry‚e(tm)s death, her sons, Richard Coeur-de-Lion and John ‚eoeLackland‚e (of Magna Carta fame), fiercely pursued the feud up to and even beyond the end of the century. But the dynastic struggle of the period was accompanied by other stirrings: the intellectual revolt, the struggle between church and state, the secularization of literature and other arts, the rise of the distinctive urban culture of the great cities. Eleanor was concerned with all the movements, closely connected with all the personages; and she knew every city from London and Paris to Byzantium, Jerusalem, and Rome. Amy Kelly‚e(tm)s story of the queen‚e(tm)s long life‚e"the first modern biography‚e"brings together more authentic information about her than has ever been assembled before and reveals in Eleanor a greatness of vision, an intelligence, and a political sagacity that have been missed by those who have dwelt on her caprice and frivolity. It also brings to life the whole period in whose every aspect Eleanor and her four kings were so intimately and influentially involved. Miss Kelly tells Eleanor‚e(tm)s absorbing story as it has long waited to be told‚e"with verve and style and a sense of the quality of life in those times, and yet with a scrupulous care for the historic facts.
  

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Schmerguls - LibraryThing

This is a good book. I well remember how I came to hear of this book. I was at the Seattle World's Fair in 1962 and there was a sort of computer-like way to learn of books on subjects of interest and ... Read full review

Review: Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings

User Review  - Sarah - Goodreads

A fantastically researched and beautifully written text. I've been fascinated by Eleanor - Alianor, in her own time - for a long while now and despite it's age, this book added more to my knowledge of ... Read full review

Contents

The Rich Dower
1
O Paris
10
Via Crucis
29
Fear the Greeks
40
Antioch the Glorious
52
Jerusalem
64
The Queen and the Duke
73
The Countess and the Poet
82
Henry Revokes His Lands
224
The Fallen Elm of Gisors
236
The Lion Heart Is King
247
The Sicilian Interlude
257
Things Done Overseas
266
Shipwreck and Disguise
283
Eleanor Queen of England
288
The Ransom
300

The Second Crown
91
Forging the Empire
104
King and Archbishop
113
Becket in Exile
124
Montmirail and Canterbury
134
The Flower of the World
150
The Court of Poitiers
157
Henry and His Sons
168
Sedition
179
Poor Prisoner
189
The Christmas Court
203
War Was in His Heart
213
Captive and Betrayer
319
The Treasure of Chalus
333
Lacklands Portion
345
Blanche and Isabella
356
Mirebeau
365
The Hope of Brittany
374
The Queen Goes Home
384
NOTES
389
BIBLIOGRAPHY
407
INDEX
417
Copyright

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About the author (1978)

Amy Kelly was formerly Associate Professor at Wellesley College.

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