The Book of the Knight of La Tour-Landry was written in 1371-72, in French, by Geoffroy de la Tour-Landry, a gentleman who lived between Chollet and Vezins in the province of Anjou. Geoffroy was a knight banneret, of about the same social rank as Chaucer's Knight.
Geoffroy wrote this work, he says, as a book of instruction for his three daughters and as a companion volume to the book he had written for his two sons.
The book that he wrote for his sons has been lost, but that written for his daughters was widely read. It survives in at least six French manuscripts and two early prints. and in the fifteenth century it was translated into several different languages, including English, into which it was translated at least twice.
The Book of the Knight is valuable as a reflection of the moral values of a fourteenth-century country gentleman and as an embodiment of the literary tastes of an educated but by no means learned layman of the time. The Knight is one of a number lay authors who appear in the fourteenth century -- men for whom writing was an avocation and yet who undertook significant literary endeavors. The "Goodman of Paris," Henry Skinner of London (who wrote long Arthurian works), Duke Henry of Lancaster (John of Gaunt's father-in-law), Chaucer's friend Sir John Clanvowe, and Chaucer himself are representatives of this phenomenon.
These parts of the Book are available on this page:
- Prologue. (Love of Knight for his wife; how he came to write this book; method of compilation; why he chose prose.)
- Ch 1. How to read this book; moral value of stories
- Ch 13. The knight is shocked by a young lady's clever "love talk"
- Ch 16. A tell-tale bird (cf. Manciple's Tale)
- Chs. 122-133. The debate of the Knight and his wife on the problem of courtly love
- Ch 131. How the lady deals with a squire who offers her his love
For the whole printed work see:
- The Book of the Knight of La Tour-Landry, EETS o.s. 33, London, ed. Thomas Wright, rev. ed. 1903 [Widener 11472.33.3].