John Mandeville (1357)

A book it’s hard to know what to make of. It starts as a fairly standard mediaeval travelogue before morphing into something more akin to a bestiary or morality tale – all told in the same voice, as though both plausible and fantastical events were equally well-observed. It’s been a source of controversy ever since.

I read The Travels after reading Riddle And The Knight, one of the recent attempts to make sense of it. I suspect that’s the right way round: reading The Travels first might incline one to dismiss it as nonsense, whereas in facts there are (or may be) deeper things at work. One can’t help but want to follow Mandeville to Sinai and St Catherine’s monastery.

3/5. Finished Tuesday 17 December, 2019.

(Originally published on Goodreads.)