Despite their importance to Castiglione and Sir Thomas Elyot, the athletic games of early modern Europe have traditionally received little attention from academics. Beginning in about 1900 occasional writers of an antiquarian bent (J.-J. Jusserand, William Heywood, Christina Hole) published trade books that surveyed the subject, but it has been only since 1980 that true scholarly studies have been devoted to knightly tournaments, Renaissance ball games, and the set of physical sports and recreations that were intrinsic to the lifestyle of the courtier and the upwardly mobile bourgeoisie. This volume deals with a wide range of sports from the thirteenth through to the seventeenth century, placing them within a variety of larger contexts. The focus of the articles has been to show that early modern sports were not isolated, discrete pursuits, but were thoroughly integrated into the social, intellectual, religious, technological, and literary frameworks of their time.
“This collection of new essays from a remarkable international team of specialists offers a unique opportunity to reconsider the sporting life of early modern Europe. It provides new insights both on theory and on the knowledge of a variety of sporting experiences. It will make compulsory reading not only for students in the history of sport, but also for anyone interested in understanding conceptions and practices of the body in contemporary culture and society.”
- Alessandro Arcangeli, University of Verona
John McClelland is Professor Emeritus of French Literature at the University of Toronto and a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies. He also taught the history of sport in the Faculty of Physical Education and Health and is the author of Body and Mind: Sport in Europe from the Roman Empire to the Renaissance (2007).
Brian Merrilees is Professor Emeritus of French at the University of Toronto and a specialist in Anglo-Norman language and literature and in medieval French lexicography. He is the editor of three editions of the Voyage de saint Brendan, the Dictionarius de Firmin Le Ver and of a number of other texts. Since 2002 he has been a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
Essays and Studies 20
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