So wrote the Frankish noblewoman Dhuoda to her young son William in the middle of the ninth century. Intended as a guide to right conduct, the book was to be shared in time with William's younger brother. Dhuoda's situation was poignant. Her husband, Bernard, the count of Septimania, was away and she was separated from her children. William was by Charles the Bald as a guarantee of his father's loyalty, and the younger son's whereabouts were unknown. As war raged in the crumbling Carolingian Empire, the grieving mother, fearing for the spiritual and physical welfare of her absent sons, began in to write her loving counsel in a handbook.
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So wrote the Frankish noblewoman Dhuoda to her young son William in the middle of the ninth century. Intended as a guide to right conduct, the book was to be shared in time with William's younger brother.
Dhuoda's situation was poignant. Her husband, Bernard. Her husband, Bernard, the count of Septimania, was away and she was separated from her children.
William was being held by Charles the Bald as a guarantee of his father's loyalty, and the younger son's whereabouts were unknown. As war raged in the crumbling Carolingian Empire, the grieving mother, fearing for the spiritual and physical welfare of her absent sons, began in to write her loving counsel in a handbook. Two years later she sent it to William. Handbook for William memorably expresses Dhuoda's maternal feelings, religious fervor, and learning.
In teaching her children how they might flourish in God's eyes, as well as humanity's, Dhuoda reveals the authority of Carolingian women in aristocratic households. She dwells on family relations, social order, the connection between religious and military responsibility, and, always, the central place of Christian devotion in a noble life. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
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Preview — Handbook for William by Dhuoda. Her husband, Bernard "I send you this little book written down in my name, that you may read it for your education, as a kind of mirror.
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Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Oct 31, Siria rated it really liked it Shelves: nonfiction , history , european-history , french-history , womens-history. This, to me, is one of the most heartbreaking texts to survive from the Middle Ages. Handbook for William is the only text to survive from the Carolingian period that we know to have been written by a woman.
Dhuoda, a noblewoman separated from her husband and much loved children, wrote this little guide for her son to instruct him in righteous living. It is not a narrative; that, combined with Dhuoda's love of acrostics and numerology can make her text a little opaque for the modern reader.
Yet This, to me, is one of the most heartbreaking texts to survive from the Middle Ages. Yet the Handbook gives us access to the unhindered voice of a ninth-century woman: her hopes and fears for her family, her understanding of the society in which she lived, her deep faith, and her participation in literary culture.
The context which Carol Neel provides in the introduction is what makes this all the more touching—Dhuoda was likely never reunited with her children, and the eponymous William was executed in his early twenties.
Feb 10, Keith Beasley-Topliffe rated it really liked it Shelves: book , church-related. In the early s, a woman named Dhuoda in what today is the south of France, wrote a handbook of advice on living etiquette, prayer, finding a mentor, honoring those above him, benefiting those below him, etc.
She wrote or dictated in Late Latin. Her handbook is the only surviving book by a Carolingian era woman. This English translation needs copious footnotes In the early s, a woman named Dhuoda in what today is the south of France, wrote a handbook of advice on living etiquette, prayer, finding a mentor, honoring those above him, benefiting those below him, etc.
This English translation needs copious footnotes to attempt to give constant scriptural references as well as references to early Christian writings, possible alternate readings, etc. It is not a quick read. But it is a very interesting window on a largely forgotten period in the Early Middle Ages. A special thanks is due to Amy Oden, whose book In Her Words includes a brief excerpt that introduced me to Dhuoda and referred me to this edition.
Apr 13, Cynthia Shin rated it liked it Shelves: language-english , owned , quarantine. Finally had the time to finish the last few chapters of this book. I started reading it for my Medieval Woman author class. But only few chapters were assigned for the class and therefore, I never really got around finishing it. I did, however, want to read it since it sounds like a good Christian advice.
I keep thinking that it might be a good idea to write an essay that introduces various female authors to Korean readers. Maybe one day I will get my lazy ass to do it. Apr 25, Jacob Garrett rated it liked it. I gave the book a 3-star rating, but that's only because the content of the book itself wasn't very appealing to me and was pretty repetitive.
As a cultural relic, however, this book is extremely valuable as a small window into Carolingian culture and history, especially if you know the story behind Dhuoda's family. Jan 21, Michael Spires rated it liked it Shelves: history. An interesting glimpse into the world of the middle ninth century, through the eyes of a noblewoman writing a book of advice for her teen-aged son since he had been called away from her to serve as a hostage at the imperial court against his father's good behavior.
Although Dhuoda's advice to her son is more spiritual than secular, there is plenty of the latter to go around--and many of the examples Dhuoda puts in for her son can be read as criticisms of the behavior of the high and mighty at co An interesting glimpse into the world of the middle ninth century, through the eyes of a noblewoman writing a book of advice for her teen-aged son since he had been called away from her to serve as a hostage at the imperial court against his father's good behavior.
Although Dhuoda's advice to her son is more spiritual than secular, there is plenty of the latter to go around--and many of the examples Dhuoda puts in for her son can be read as criticisms of the behavior of the high and mighty at court, particularly the three sons of the emperor Charlemagne.
Although it is not clear whether Dhuoda wrote this book herself or dictated it to someone else, it is nevertheless a work of considerable erudition and speaks very highly of the level of education at the imperial court, even among the laity. Also notable, despite the heavy concentration on the spiritual well-being of her son, is Dhuoda's conviction that the lay state, and everyday secular activities, could have positive value. This is an attitude that is sadly rare even today in Catholic theology, and was far less common in earlier times.
May 06, Walt rated it really liked it Shelves: history-medieval. This is an interesting book in league with "the Prince. The mother's advice to her son is how to navigate the political waters of Dark Ages France. The easy-to-read book is an excellent description of daily life for the nobility. Let me emphasize that the nobility of this era were not those of the High Middle Ages with fairy tale castles and shinning armor. These people were more of an equivolent of an "upper middle class" in t This is an interesting book in league with "the Prince.
These people were more of an equivolent of an "upper middle class" in terms of income, luxuries, education, and legal rights. Feb 09, J. Other fascinating points are it shows just how much of an emphasis the Carolingian Court really did place on learning, which is evidenced by the works of people such as Alcuin, but it's still interesting to see it from an in context primary source perspective.
Apr 03, Anna added it Shelves: history. A Carolingian woman wrote this handbook of counsel for her teenage son, about how to be morally upright, successful among his peers, etc. Zach rated it really liked it Apr 05, Katherine rated it really liked it Oct 17, Margaret rated it liked it Feb 28, Meredith rated it did not like it Oct 13, Josh Espinosa rated it did not like it Nov 07, Carol Adler rated it liked it Dec 30, Elizabeth Schechter rated it it was amazing May 12, Andrew rated it liked it Sep 14, Libby rated it liked it Jun 19, Ralf Besselaar rated it really liked it Nov 29, Kristie rated it really liked it Jul 09, Mica Pruitt rated it really liked it Mar 14, Jessiqa rated it it was ok Feb 04, Elizabeth Kendall rated it liked it Nov 30, Olivia rated it liked it Nov 04,
Handbook for William: A Carolingian Woman's Counsel for Her Son
Dhuoda, a Frankish noblewoman, wrote Handbook for William in the middle of the ninth century. In its original Latin, Dhuoda's text is conventionally called Liber manualis , "handbook," without specific mention of its intended audience. The author nevertheless seems to have wished that it be more specifically identified. The present translation reflects her emphasis in the Handbook 's opening and closing lines that she wrote it for the use of her elder son, from whom she was separated when he was fourteen years old. The author here enjoins the adolescent William to use his Handbook carefully for his own benefit. She urges too that he employ it in the instruction of his infant brother when the younger child is old enough to understand 1. Dhuoda Handbook for William , then, presents itself as a source of consolation for a grieving mother.
Handbook for William: A Carolingian Woman's Counsel for Her Son, Trans. by Carol Neel
Being a red-blooded, blue-blooded male in the Carolingian Empire was a risky business. Those who grew up in Western Europe during the eighth and ninth centuries were frequently exposed to extreme violence. The only thing the Carolingians valued as much as ruthlessness on the battlefield was proficiency with Biblical text. William of Septimania appears to have had a thorough education in both. He was barely in his twenties when he seized control of Barcelona in , but he had already spent four years warring against the crown.
Dhuoda fl. She was the author of the Liber Manualis , a handbook written for her son. Dhuoda's parentage is unknown, but her education and her connections indicate that her family was wealthy; her father may have been Sancho I, Duke of Gascony. Their first son, William of Septimania , was born on 29 November , and the second, Bernard Plantapilosa , on 22 March
Among the vast body of literature thrown up by the Carolingian Renaissance, few texts have the charm of this book of advice written by a mother to her son in the confused political situation which followed the death of Louis the Pious in Separated from her husband and children, Dhuoda poured a mother's love into her book: 'My son, m yfirstborns o n — you will have other teachers to present you with works of fuller and richer usefulness, but not anyone like me, your mother, whose heart burns on your behalf'. Texts written by w o m e n are u n c o m m o n in this period, as are those by members of the laity; having been written by a laywoman, Dhuoda's Handbook is of outstanding interest in various ways. Among these is the way in which the text lets us see the literary culture which an educated w o m a n of the ninth century had at her disposal. She knew the Bible well, and was also able to draw on patristic and Carolingian material. Dhuoda's intellectual world was more explicitly Christian than that of Einhard, a nearly contemporary member of the laity, but impressive none the less. Her son William inhabited the same world of texts: 'Read the Synonyms', she peremptorily instructs him at one point.