Saint Louis

Product Details
University of Notre Dame Press
Publish Date
6.5 X 9.5 X 2.6 inches | 3.43 pounds

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate
About the Author

Jacques Le Goff (1924-) is the former director of studies at L'École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris. He is the author and coauthor of a number of books, including History and Memory, Medieval Civilization 400-1500, and Time, Work, and Culture in the Middle Ages.


". . . Le Goff interweaves insightful and illuminating reflections on Louis' personality. This interweaving of person, structures and representation takes Le Goff beyond the established historiography of Louis IX . . . [and] demonstrates how the historical biographer can legitimately evoke personality and psychology in a wider account of structures and discourses. . . it is a seminal text, and this welcome translation will render it available to a wider audience." --English Historical Review

". . . what Le Goff has accomplished is more than what will undoubtedly be considered the definitive biography of St. Louis; he has established a standard against which other biographies will be measured. Saint Louis will be read and reread not only as a monograph (or perhaps three-in-one, a monographical trinity) but also as an indispensable reference book." --The Historian

". . . a warm and largely admiring portrait of a king in whom power and goodness do indeed form two sides of the same coin. . . . Le Goff's Louis is cheerful, ardent, devout, intelligent but unintellectual, skillful yet uncomplicated, a man in tune with his age but able to transcend at least some of its limitations. . . . [T]his is a rich and generous book, crammed with a lifetime's learning." --The New York Review of Books

"Jacques Le Goff's brilliant biography, Saint Louis, came out in French in 1996, and is now published in a readable English translation. Its publication gives Anglophones a book to set beside W.C. Jordan's Louis IX and the Challenge of the Crusade (1979) and Jean Richard's Saint Louis (1983, translated in 1992). . . . Le Goff excels in his knowledge of the biographical sources, which he subjects to close analysis, against the background--Le Goff's home territory--of European mentalités." --London Review of Books

"More than simply a biography of Louis IX of France, this magisterial work by a member of the Annales School of historiography is an examination of the historian's craft. . . . Le Goff argues convincingly that Louis, while still a medieval figure, was also one of the first moderns. He provides the scholarly apparatus lacking in Jean Richard's Saint Louis, the Crusading King of France . . . highly recommended for academic and larger public libraries." --Library Journal

"In a massive piece of scholarship, Le Goff, doyen of French medievalists, plays the sleuth whose work results in more contradictions than clarity in the search for an integration of the three personae--king, saint, and man--of Louis IX (1214-1270). . . . Resolving to live with an inherently unstable and distorted historical figure hovering somewhere between memory, history, and legend, Le Goff thereby raises important questions about defining historical authenticity. Gollrad's translation nicely preserves the lively and intimate prose of the French original (1996)." --Choice

"Louis lives and walks through these pages. What Le Goff has given us is more than a biography; it is a work of literature. . . . Given the length of this book, many will be intimidated and will not take up its challenge. That is a pity, for Le Goff has much to offer here. There is no chapter that does not contain information and ideas that deserve to be discussed further." --The Catholic Historical Review

"Historical revisionism has left the reputation of the saint king untarnished. And that is because he really was a man of extraordinary piety. He believed that the crown of France was given to him by God, who would hold him accountable for it. Le Goff's history of Louis, originally published in 1996 and now translated into English, is probably the most complete available." --First Things

"Le Goff's Saint Louis is now and will serve for a long time as a valuable reference tool and source of inspiration for the study of Louis IX in English." --The Medieval Review

"The publication of Jacques Le Goff's massive study of the life of Saint Louis in 1996 . . . marks the clearest illustration of the marrying of annalist methodology to the traditional biographical genre. The solid translation of this work into English by Gareth Evan Gollrad provides an opportunity to consider again the strengths and limitations of annalist biography." --American Historical Review

"Gareth Evan Gollrad's imposing . . . translation is an accurate and lucid rendition of Le Goff's original work, complete with genealogical charts and maps . . . Saint Louis is no mere biography, rather it is an exploration of the politics and society of thirteenth-century France, which shaped, and were shaped by, Louis IX, in life and in death." --The Journal of the Ecclesiastical History