Boureau, Alain

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ADDRESSES: Office—Johns Hopkins University, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, 328 Gilman Hall, 3400 North Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: Historian. Centre de Recherches Historiques, École des Hautes Etudes en Science Sociales, Paris, France, director; Johns Hopkins University, visiting professor of medieval and intellectual history.


La légende dorée: le systeme narratif de Jacques deVoragine (1298), Editions du Cerf (Paris, France), 1984.

L'aigle: chronique politique d'un emblème, Editions du Cerf (Paris, France), 1985.

La Papesse Jeanne, Aubier (Paris, France), 1988, translated by Lydia G. Cochrane as The Myth of Pope Joan, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 2001.

Le simple corps du roi: l'impossible sacralité des souverains français, XVe-XVIIIe siècle, Editions de Siècle (Paris, France), 1988.

Histoires d'un historien: Kantorowicz, Gallimard (Paris, France), 1990, translated by Stephen G. Nichols and Gabrielle M. Spiegel as Kantorowicz: Stories of a Historian, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 2001.

(Editor, with Claudio Sergio Ingerflom) La Royauté sacrée dans le monde chretien: colloque de Royaumont, mars 1989, Editions de l'École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris, France), 1992.

L'événement sans fin: récit et christianisme au Moyen âge, Belles Lettres (Paris, France), 1993.

(With Roger Chartier, Cecile Dauphin, and others) La correspondence: les usages de la letter au XIXe siècle, translated by Christopher Woodall as Correspondence: Models of Letter-writing from the Middle Ages to the Nineteenth Century, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ) 1997.

Le droit de cuissage: la fabrication d'un mythe (XIIIe-XXe siècle), Albin Michel (Paris, France), 1995, translated by Lydia G. Cochrane as The Lord's First Night: The Myth of the Droit de Cuissage, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1998.

Théologie, science et censure au XIIIe siècle: le cas de Jean Peckham, Belles Lettres (Paris, France), 1999.

La loi du royaume: Les moines, le droit et la construction de la nation anglaise, XIe-XIIIe siècles, Belles Lettres (Paris, France), 2001.

Also contributor to The Culture of Print: Power and the Uses of Print in Early Modern Europe, edited by Roger Chartier, translated by Lydia G. Cochrane, Polity (Cambridge, England), 1989.

SIDELIGHTS: Alain Boureau, the director of the École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, France, is the author of several books that focus on his speciality of medieval and intellectual history. His La Papesse Jeanne, translated as The Myth of Pope Joan, examines the legend of the mythical female pope. Boureau draws from many sources in his discussion of the legend, including Dominican preaching, the writing of Giovanni Boccaccio, and the sermons of John Hus and Martin Luther. Unlike Peter Stanford, who concluded in his The Legend of Pope Joan: In Search of the Truth that there may in fact have been a female pope, Boureau concludes in The Myth of Pope Joan that there was no actual historical Joan.

Histoires d'un historien: Kantorowicz explores the life and work of German author Ernst Hartwig Kantorowicz (1893-1963), the biographer of Frederick II (1712-1786), who was king of Prussia from 1740. Kantorowicz, born in Germany in 1893, entered the army in 1914 and participated in many battles; he was wounded while fighting and decorated many times. After receiving wounds from combat with Soviet forces in Munich in 1919, he left the army and took up teaching at the university. He became a professor at a university in Frankfurt, Germany, but in 1934 the takeover of Germany by the Nazis pushed him into early retirement. In 1939 Kantorowicz left Germany for New York and consequently joined the faculties at the University of California at Berkeley, and the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study, until his death in 1963. John Hine Mundy, reviewing Histoires d'un historien in the Journal of Modern History, wrote, "Boureau gives a rich, if mildly Gallicized, genealogy of Kantorowicz's thought. What intrigues him about this German's work . . . is not only its basic conservatism, but also its enrichment of conventional history by the addition of the history of art, law, and literature." Mundy also noted that "Boureau does not shirk difficult questions" about Kantorowicz's life and work. Although faulting a few "slips" in the text, Mundy declared "this little book is a fine tribute to the master."

La Royaute sacrée dans le monde chretien: colloque de Royaumont, mars 1989 is a collection of fifteen essays, edited by Boureau in collaboration with Claudio Sergio Ingerflom, that discuss the medieval notion that kings were divinely appointed. Catholic Historical Review contributor Richard A. Jackson remarked that the book is "a contribution to the subject, full of interesting ideas, suggestive of further research, but hardly a definitive treatment."

The Lord's First Night: The Myth of the Droit de Cuissage looks at the notion that in the Middle Ages the lord of a manor had the right to bed his vassal's bride on her wedding night. According to Boureau, this custom, which was first written about in 1247 and has been believed in for seven hundred years, is actually a myth. Peter Linehan noted in the Times Literary Supplement that the book is "a richly informative study of attitudes to the past and the manipulation of history down the ages." In Speculum, Paul Freedman commented, "Few works cross with such confidence from the medieval to the contemporary....[The Lord's First Night] shows us an intriguing and volatile aspect of the medieval imagination and the imagined Middle Ages."



Catholic Historical Review, July, 1993, Richard A. Jackson, review of La Royaute sacrée dans le monde chretien, pp. 498-499; April, 1987, p. 326.

English Historical Review, April, 2001, Richard Cross, review of Théologie, science et censure au XIIIe siècle: le cas de Jean Peckham, p. 458.

Journal of Modern History, June, 1993, John Hine Mundy, review of Histoires d'un historien: Kantorowicz, pp. 378-379.

Journal of Social History, winter, 1999, Konstantin Dierks, review of Correspondence: Models of Letter-writing from the Middle Ages to the Nineteenth Century, p. 466.

Library Journal, May 1, 2001, Carolyn M. Craft, review of The Myth of Pope Joan, p. 91.

Publishers Weekly, March 26, 2001, review of TheMyth of Pope Joan, p. 87.

Speculum, July, 1996, Paul Freedman, review of Le droit de cuissage: La fabrication d'un mythe (XIIIe-XXe siècle), pp. 696-698.

Times Literary Supplement, October 6, 1995, Peter Linehan, "Leg-over Legend," p. 44.*