The Goodman of Paris: Treatise on Moral and Domestic Economy by a Citizen of Paris
This book of instruction by an older man for his young wife was written around 1393, and Eileen Power’s excellent translation, both clear to the modern English reader yet full of the rhythm and idiom of the original French, was originally published in 1928. An affordable paperback reissue is very welcome to those of us with an interest in the mediaeval way of life. The book covers every aspect of good wifely conduct, from modesty when attending church to the importance of sowing seed at the wane of the Moon. A chapter entitled ‘To restrain your husband gently from his errors’ is just one indication that this husband, though forty years older than his wife, was a compassionate and enlightened man who desired to give his wife guidance, not just for his own benefit but for the benefit of ‘another husband, if you have one, after me.’ It seems to me the man who wrote this book, full of moral tales, recipes, tips on shopping and what to do with ‘young women using foul language’ would have been a hard act to follow, and I hope they were very happy together.
A must for writers and re-enactors, and a fascinating, entertaining read for anyone who has ever run a household.