Froissart's Chronicles in the 19th and 20th Centuries



Froissart's Chronicles were frequently printed in the early centuries of print, in both French and, after Bourchier's translation of 1523-25, in English. "Epitomes" of the Chronicles were a feature of their print history from an early stage. These offered readers a summary version of the contents of the text, along with such aids as indices and marginal dates. The 1537 Latin epitome by Johann Phillipson von Schleiden was translated into English and printed in 1608 as An Epitome of Frossard: OR, A Summarie Collection of the most memorable Histories contained in his Chronicle, chiefly concerning the State of England and Frace. Wherin the famous Warres and Conquests of king Edward the third, with the honorable atchieuements of the Blacke Prince, and other his sonnes, both in Fraunce, Spaine, and Portugall, are compendiously described. Entermixed with other historicall occureents of those times, very worthy, and profitable to be had in remembrance. Compiled in Latine by Iohn Sleydane, and translated into English, By P. Golding.



Thomas Johnes (1748-1816) translated the whole of Froissart's Chronicles into modern English and had the translation printed in five volumes, from 1803-1810, at his own press. The translation was subsequently frequently reprinted, and itself became the subject of an epitome by H.P. Dunster, whose condensed version reappears frequently in both popular editions of Froissart aimed at adults, and in the many adaptations aimed at juvenile readers. A particularly handsome edition in the second category is Herbert Cole's illustrated 1908 Chronicles of England, France, Spain, samples of which are reproduced below:


Click the thumbnail above to see a larger version of the opening of the first chapter from this edition.

The modern translations of Froissart often appeared in deluxe format books. Three such copies are illustrated below by their bindings. On the left is the 1839 edition published by William Smith; in the centre is the 1868 Routledge version; and on the right is the translation into modern French by Mme de Witt, published in Paris by Hachette in 1881. Click the covers of the Smith (left) and de Witt (right) copies to see what those books looked like inside.
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