Explorers from Marco Polo to Captain John Smith viewed their travels and discoveries in the light of attitudes they absorbed from the literature of medieval knighthood. Their own accounts, and contemporary narratives (reinforced by the interest of early printers), reveal this interplay, but historians of exploration on the one hand, and of chivalry on the other, have largely ignored this cultural connection. Jennifer Goodman convincingly develops the idea of the chivalric romance as an imaginative literature of travel; she traces the publication of medieval chivalric texts alongside exploration narratives throughout the later middle ages and renaissance, and reveals parallel themes and preoccupations. She illustrates this with the histories of a sequence of explorers and their links with chivalry, from Marco Polo to Captain John Smith, and including Gadifer de la Salle and his expedition to the Canary Islands, Prince Henry the Navigator, Cortes, Hakluyt, and Sir Walter Raleigh. JENNIFER GOODMAN teaches at Texas A & M University.
Ground-breaking study of the influence of late medieval romance in shaping the fantasies and narratives of explorers such as Marco Polo and Cortes. REVIEW OF ENGLISH STUDIES
Goodman's queste to penetrate the fantasies of European exporers makes us sensible of an important element in our understanding of the Renaissance. RENAISSANCE STUDIES
Goodman has identified a key topic for an understanding of the imaginaire of Renaissance travellers... [the] emphasis on the historical importance of the chivalric fantasy, and of its moral ambiguities, is a very timely contribution to the subject. MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW