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Tzanaki, Rosemary, Mandeville's Medieval Audiences: A Study on the Reception of the Book of Sir John Mandeville (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003).

The so-called travels of Sir John Mandeville to the Holy Land, India and Cathay were immensely popular throughout Europe during the late medieval period and were translated into nine different languages. This is a detailed study of the audiences of Mandeville's Book, with particular emphasis on its reception in England and France from the time the Book appeared in the 1350s to the mid-16th century.

The multiple ways in which audiences interpreted the work, depending on wider social and cultural contexts, are analysed thematically, under the headings of pilgrimage, geography, romance, history and theology, and contrasted with what can be learned of the author's intentions. The book is well-illustrated with images taken from both manuscript and early printed editions: in her study of these and the marginal notes, Rosemary Tzanaki shows their importance for seeing what readers found of interest. Her analysis makes a significant contribution to our understanding of how people in medieval Europe perceived the outside world.

Reviewed in STW 9/1


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Studies in Travel Writing (journal)
Centre for Travel Writing Studies (Nottingham Trent University)

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