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January 2016 Vol. 53 No. 5

University of Chicago Press

The following review appeared in the January 2016 issue of CHOICE. The review is for your internal use only. Please review our Permission and Reprints Guidelines or email

Social & Behavioral Sciences
History, Geography & Area Studies - Western Europe

Smahel, František. The Parisian Summit, 1377-78: Emperor Charles IV and King Charles V of France. 1st English ed. Karalinum Press, Charles University, 2015. (Dist. by Chicago.) 478p bibl index ISBN 9788024625225, $45.00.

In November 1377, Emperor Charles IV journeyed to France to visit his nephew, King Charles V.  Ostensibly, the summit had three aims: to view holy relics, participate in a pilgrimage, and speak with the French monarch.  In this magnificently illustrated and documented work, the meeting and its resultant declaration of imperial support for France against England are in some ways the least important topics covered.  The prologue of the book covers almost 170 pages of text, providing details of the childhoods of both men, their first meeting in 1356, and the difficulties Charles V experienced in establishing his reign.  An edition of the passage describing the summit from the Grandes Chroniques de France follows, to which Šmahel (medieval studies, Charles Univ., Prague) appends an analysis in a brief epilogue.  The remainder of the work takes the form of “excursuses” or short sections investigating the historiography of the Grandes Chroniques, their illustrations, and topics of social and cultural import such as court etiquette, processions, horses, clothing, palaces, meals, and gifts.  A cursory index and some inelegant translations do not diminish the value of a work that will introduce many readers to the extensive research of Czech scholars.

--L. C. Attreed, College of the Holy Cross

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.