Told Chiefly in Relation to their Conquest of England
Sarah Orne Jewett
This text is in the process of being constructed.
The text and illustrations are here, but annotations are still being prepared and eventually will appear with this book and the essay sequel.
I. The Men of the Dragon Ships
II. Rolf the Ganger
III. William Longsword
IV. Richard the Fearless
V. Duke Richard the Good
VI. Robert the Magnificent
VII. The Normans in Italy
VIII. The Youth of William the Conqueror
IX. Across the Channel
X. The Battle of Val-Ès-Dunes
XI. The Abbey of Bec
XII. Matilda of Flanders
XIII. Harold the Englishman
XIV. News from England
XV. The Battle of Hastings
XVI. William the Conqueror
XVII. Kingdom and Dukedom
G. P. Putnam's Sons
My Dear Grandfather
Doctor WILLIAM PERRY, of Exeter
Edited and annotated by Terry Heller, Coe College
Graphics assistant: Mary Dias, Coe College
Reviews of The Story of the Normans
from The New Orleans Daily Picayune (Feb. 13, 1887) 10.
This book belongs to the fine series being published under the general title of "The Story of the Nations." The author, Miss Sarah [Sara] Jewett, is one of the most graceful, sympathetic and popular of the magazine writers, but even her most devoted admirers will be pleasantly surprised to find with what depth, comprehension and eloquence she has lent her pen to the romantic and thrilling career of the Normans. Miss Jewett's book relates chiefly to the Norman conquest of England, and it will always remain one of the best and most readable of the series.
from "Brief Notes on New Books," The Dial (March 1887) 274.
The name of Sarah Orne Jewett on the title page of "The Story of the Normans," the latest number of the "Story of the Nations" (Putnam), leads us to expect a narrative of blended symmetry and strength; and our expectation is perfectly fulfilled. The quiet, earnest spirit, the scrupulous veracity, the careful construction, the finished style, which mark the essays and stories of Miss Jewett, distinguish this more serious and comprehensive work. She has studied the subject faithfully, mastering it to a degree which enables her to treat it with an original picturesque force. It has all the charm of a romance, with the truth of a veritable history. The record of a people, written with such simplicity and beauty, impresses lastingly the mind of the reader, old or young. "The Story [story] of the Normans" is confined to a few generations, extending from the middle of the ninth to the beginning of the eleventh century; but as Miss Jewett relates it, it is relieved from all obscurity and elevated to its due rank and importance. We are not to forget that the lives of our ancestry go back to the Northman as well as to the Anglo-Saxon, and that to him
Englishmen and Americans are indebted for some of their most estimable qualities. It is, in truth, our earlier history we trace in this story of the Norman Dukes.
The New England Magazine 5:30 (April 1887), 603.
A LARGE number of American readers should be interested in the history of the Normans, since in their veins runs a rill which, in some degree, had its source in Normandy in times antedating William the Conqueror. In her history of this people,1 Miss Jewett has treated an important as well as an interesting subject in a sprightly and in a worthy manner. In their own land they are brought to our view in the persons of the first seven dukes, the successive rulers of Normandy, who were "typical of their time and representative of the various types of the national character." The author regards these Normans as the foremost people of their day, "the most thoroughly alive, and quickest to see where advances might be made." This is observed to be true in regard to their methods and skill in government, and in the extension of their power and their national growth. It is shown in their very striking and original architecture, which has had so wide an influence, and whose beauties are constantly reproduced in modern structures. The same eminence is perceived in the social field; for it is admitted that this people were gifted with sentiment and with good taste, together with intellectual cleverness. Yet as with others there is a dark side to this picture,--failures in point of noble action, and misfortunes that involved much privation. These were owing, as usual, to a blindness to the inevitable results of certain courses, and the accompanying unwillingness to listen to their best teachers. In order that we may understand the old Norman beauty and grace, their manly strength, courage, and courtesy, the author would have us go now to the shores of Norway, where in the country of the saga-men and the rough sea-kings, beside the steep-shored harbors of the viking dragon-ships, linger still the constantly repeated types of our earlier ancestry, and where the flower of the sagas blooms as fair as ever. This is a rather romantic view of the subject, but in a certain sense, it is probably a true one.
1The Story of the Normans, by Sarah Orne Jewett. New York and London. G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1887. Cloth, 12 mo.; pp. 373. $1.50.
Images of the Book
Illustration from the cover
G. P. Putnam
Frontispiece. Birthplace of William the Conqueror. Palaise.
Fold-out map. Europe at the close of the 11th Century.