The Man Who Believed He Was King of France: A True Medieval Tale


Product Details

University of Chicago Press
Publish Date
6.36 X 0.86 X 8.78 inches | 0.93 pounds
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About the Author

Tommaso di Carpegna Falconieri is director of studies in medieval history at the University of Urbino and head of courses in methodology of historical research and the history of the Middle Ages.
William McCuaig has translated more than a dozen books from Italian and French, including Chiara Frugoni's A Day in a Medieval City, also published by the University of Chicago Press.


"Falconieri painstakingly pieces together the events surrounding his hero's doomed bid in a narrative that reads like an adventure story."

--New Yorker (12/08/2008)

"In this mostly elegant, sometimes workmanlike, study--part detective story and part history--University of Urbino medievalist Falconieri raises significant questions about the tale. Was Giannino a historical figure or a literary invention? Was he really the royal child switched at birth by a wet nurse intent on saving her marriage? Through an examination of other similar medieval tales and contemporary works that discuss such stories (e.g., Dante's Commedia), Falconieri answers these questions while offering fascinating glimpses into the intrigues of the medieval French and Italian courts and the weaving of classical Greek and biblical tales into medieval stories about the revelation of royal identity."

-- (08/25/2008)
"Carpegna Falconieri unleashes his critical skills as a historian to situate Giannino, debate the authorship of the Istoria, and examine the role of fabricated identity in Giannino's campaign to be recognized as king. Written in an accessible and captivating style--McCuaig also ably translated Chiara Frugoni's A Day in a Medieval City--this well-researched work is recommended for academic and large public libraries."-- (06/25/2008)

"I read The Man Who Believed He Was King of France with great pleasure. From the wonderful first sentence, it is a fascinating story and an engaging read. Unlike an Agatha Christie mystery, where all is revealed in the end, Carpegna Falconieri emphasizes the knots and twists of the skein of the tale, and we are as wrapped in it at the end as we were at the beginning."

---R. Howard Bloch, author of A Needle in the Right Hand of God
"The life of Giannino di Guccio, a.k.a King Jean I of France, unfolded from an infancy in France to the streets of Siena, to the Hungarian court at Visigrรกd, to the palace of the popes in Avignon, and finally to the prisons of Naples, against a backdrop of war, plague, dynastic intrigue, and millenarian hopes that defined the fourteenth century. Tommaso di Carpegna Falconieri employs his deep knowledge of medieval Italy, his skills as a historian, and his flair for storytelling to lead the reader through a maze of forgeries, impersonators, con artists, dreams, and schemes that raise fundamental questions about belief, identity, and destiny at once rooted in this vanished world and yet timeless."-- (05/13/2008)

"An incredible tale of changelings, revolutionaries, political intrigue, and middle-class rectitude told with evenhanded compassion and a profound sense of history. Real life has never so resembled a picaresque novel, or a story from Boccaccio."

-- (06/12/2008)
"A fascinating and fun historical read, a book that enlightens as much on medieval politics and ideas of kingship as it does on the perhaps naive, perhaps opportunistic merchant at the middle of one of the more unusual--and certainly audacious--scams in recorded history."--Michael G. Cornelius "Bloomsbury Review "