Repository logo

Chivalric Culture and the Librairie du Louvre's Textual Community, 1368-1477



Change log


Pine, Savannah 


Charles V, king of France (1338-1380, r.1364-1380), transformed the Louvre palace's former falconry tower into a library consisting of three rooms, one on top of the other, and which housed over nine hundred volumes during its existence from 1368 to 1435. The Librairie du Louvre was a unique medieval aristocratic collection since Charles V allowed his family, friends, and counselors to access it, unlike many other contemporary aristocratic collections, which were typically only used by the family. As such, this dissertation claims that the Librairie formed the center of a textual community consisting of the king's relatives, other aristocrats, non-elites, and their book collections. It contends that this community utilized books to transmit chivalry and, by extension, knightly masculinity. This dissertation argues that, through the Librairie du Louvre's textual community, one can study chivalry as a culture which did not exist only on the battlefield nor tournament ground, and which was not the sole preserve of the male elite warrior. The first half of this dissertation explores how a textual community operated in practice, and how the interrelationship and dynamics between people and books could have transmitted culture (Chapters I and II). The second half examines what was being transmitted, and how chivalric culture was exchanged by late medieval people and their manuscripts of chivalric literature (Chapters III and IV). In other words, the first half describes how culture could be transmitted through libraries and book collections, and the second half explores what was being disseminated through the manuscripts themselves. Through these methodologies, this dissertation examines how chivalry was a cultural force which was not confined only to knights.





Arnold, John


Chivalry, Gender, Libraries, Masculinity, Textual Community


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge