Fragmentary and Fragile: Lances and History

Now that I am back home, safe in the dry company of my little library, I am in a position to attempt an answer to a question posed by a reader back on 2 November. That question involved the assertion that the lances of late Renaissance tournaments were peculiarly fragile—as in ‘deliberately’ fragile.

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Breakable swords and tournament scores


I am working on something more substantial for PBS readers at the moment, but I just read something that required some thought, and thought ran to writing and here we are. I’ll take advantage of the aside function in the blog for this one to indicate its ‘superficial’ nature.

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How am I supposed to find this?


I like to think that my ear is rather close to the rails when it comes to current scholarship and publishing on martial literature and violence. But, leave it to a routine search to show me this little bit of (potential) gold:

Sydney Anglo, L’escrime, La danse et l’art de la guerre: Le livre et la représentation du mouvement (Paris: BNF, 2011).

Not only is this a very recent work from the most influential writer on martial literature since Hutton and Aylward, its title is frighteningly close to the working title I have used for my MA thesis-to-book project.

I guess I have some digging to do around the internets for an affordable copy. Glad I have a functional reading ability in French.