The Service of Ladies An Autobiography First Person

The Service of Ladies An Autobiography First Person Singular First Person Singular Not nearly as entertaining as I was expecting Not uite the rip roaring adventure of Orlando Furioso but fun to read and grimace at the protagonist and his foolish devotion Ulrich von Liechtenstein's extraordinary account of his adventures as a knight errant is one of the most vivid images of chivalric life to have come down to us His knightly autobiography was written in the mid thirteenth century and gives an account of the journey of Venus which he undertook in 1226 in honour of his lady in which he claimed to have broken 307 spears in jousts against all comers in the space of a month Some of it is obviously uietly exaggerated written for his friends' entertainment many years later and he is not above a sly dig at the conventions of courtly love but he completely accepts its basic ideas It is full of lively episodes and good stories as well as verses in honour of his lady; if the tale has been polished up for effect it is nonetheless a thoroughly entertaining account of how a knight saw his ideal career in the jousting field If the name is unexpectedly familiar to modern readers it is because it was borrowed by the hero of the film A Knight's Tale; Ulrich would have certainly approved of his exploits Introduction by KELLY DEVRIES

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