A Fool's Pilgrimage
A comic novel told in the distinctive voice of the bibulous old Sir John Falstaff, A Fool’s Pilgrimage is a daybook written in the early years of the fifteenth century. However, life in the late Middle Ages is often far from comical, and our hero’s adventures often reveal the seamier side of the period.
Peopled with strange and wonderful characters, such as Denys the Mad Holy Man, Guillermo the Gypsy Prince, Jeanne the Whore, and Jean-Baptiste of the Bone-Handled Knife, we are whisked through medieval France in a series of hilarious escapades. But the sardonic wit seventy-year-old Falstaff uses to characterise his fellow travellers is also turned unsparingly on himself. Sir John knows he is lying, untrustworthy, opportunistic, but also resourceful, adaptive and in the end, however battered, a survivor.
Like the true hero of the picaresque story, he is at once a lamentable rogue and great fun, deplored but held in real, if guilty, affection.
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