Jean Froissart

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Froissart, Jean


Born circa 1337, in Valenciennes, Flanders (now in France); died after 1404, in Chimay, Hainaut Department. French chronicler and poet.

The son of a burgher, Froissart served at the court of the king of England and later at the courts of some great feudal lords of France. From his youth he composed verses and poems in the vein of chivalric courtly poetry, but he gained fame as a historian of the military campaigns of English and French knights and for his accounts of their tournaments, feasts, and plunderings. In his Chronicles he described the events of the period 1327–1400, particularly the Hundred Years’ War. In order to collect information, Froissart undertook journeys through England, France, Spain, and Italy. In explaining events prior to 1361, he used the chronicles of the Liège chronicler J. le Bel.

Faithful to those who were paying him, Froissart more than once changed his political orientation to conform to the interests of his patrons. The first edition of the Chronicles reflected his pro-English orientation; however, after Froissart went over to the French in 1370, he reworked the text, so that the second and especially the third editions had a pro-French bias. (Initially Froissart had drawn on the testimony of England’s allies; for the new editions he employed that of England’s enemies.) While celebrating the exploits of the knights of any nationality, Froissan was hostile to, and scornful of, the common people. The Paris uprising of 1357–58, the Jacquerie, and other popular movements were either condemned by him or were passed over in silence.

The Chronicles enjoyed enormous success among Froissart’s contemporaries and among later generations because of its picturesque use of language, lively dialogue, vivid portraits of knights, and artful description of nature, as well as for its abundance of facts, which were gathered from eyewitnesses and participants in the events described. Since the end of the 15th century the Chronicles has been published many times; it has been translated from French into Latin and the modern European languages. The work exerted a great influence on chronicle writing (especially English) during the 15th and 16th centuries.


Oeuvres, vols. 1–28. Brussels, 1867–77.
Chroniques, vols. 1–13. Paris, 1869–1958.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
(7) Jean Froissart, La prison amoureuse = The prison of love, ed.
(1.) Jean Froissart (1337-1400) was born in the same city as Watteau, Valenciennes.
The material she considers is Adam de la Halle's Jeu de Robin et Marion, Jean Froissart, and Christine de Pizan's Dit de la pastoure.
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The present volume provides a convenient reminder of the significant historiographical production of writers like George Chastelain, Philippe de Commynes, Jean Froissart, Jean Lemaire de Belges, and Jean Molinet.
As the go-between in these cultural negotiations, Chrystede himself represents the advantage as well as the anxiety of a mongrel identity for the consolidation of the English nation, even as Jean Froissart's account of the interplay between colonialization and decolonialization reflected upon Anglo-French tensions no less than upon the Anglo-Irish.
The next, and more important, popularizer of the tale about Hugh Despenser and Edward II having sexual relations (at least that I can find) was yet another Belgian, Jehan or Jean Froissart, who was born in Hainault in about 1338 and died at Chimay circa 1410.
As the chronicler Jean Froissart tells us, at the battle of Crecy
(43) 'You ought to know that in this book many dits and treatises of love and morals are contained, which Sire Jean Froissart, priest [.
Turning, in Chapter 4, to the works of Guillaume de Machaut and Jean Froissart, Blumenfeld-Kosinski examines how these two authors outstrip even Jean de Meun in treating myth as fictive material that can be manipulated as part of their own self-validation as poets.