The Cornerstone

New York: Pantheon Books, 1955. Book Club Edition. Hardcover. Used - Good/Very Good. Toned from age. Deckled fore edge. Blue paper boards with charcoal gray cloth spine; front board has embossed illustration of knight and princess; gilt lettering on spine. Edges of boards are discolored. Corners have some bumping. Text box is clean and unmarked. Binding tight and square. Maps. 14.5 x 22 cm. 482 pp. / Fair. Considerable wear Open tears along top edge and head of spine. Brodart protective cover applied. Item #9533

Translated from the French by Edward Hyams.

From Kirkus (Jan. 7, 1954):

Double cachet -- with Prix Femina and Book of the Month (January)- this may well bring Zoe Oldenbourg the recognition which the public here has withheld. The critics were unanimous in unstinted praise for The World Is Not Enough, which I'm frank in confessing I found much more exciting and satisfying reading than this, its sequel. The period here is perhaps, some forty years later. Ansiau, youthful hero of the earlier book, is, an old man, half blind, full of remorse for his sins (he loved too well the daughter of his old age), leaves his barony on a lonely pilgrimage to Jerusalem there to expiate his sins and find the grave of his best loved son. His Journey was a long and wearisome and tragic one, ending with death on a hillside outside the Holy City. Through his wanderings the length and breadth of France, now wholly blind and led by a lad, now adding to the two of them another blind beggar- and another youth. One gets glimpses of a countryside ravaged by religious wars, haunted by superstitions, now and then exalted by faith. Interspersed with his story is that of those he left behind at Linnieres, where the rules of chivalry create impossible situations; where tournaments are used to settle personal feuds; where courtly love destroys young men, and superstitious fears pervert the faith of peasants and lords alike. It is a violent story, emerging as a vast panorama of the Middle Ages, with a varied cast of characters, torn by the demands of their hate, their loyalties, their love and their faith. If the two books were brought together, the early 13th century would live again. The Cornerstone, read alone, leaves a taste of its struggle, its terrors, rather than the substance of its richness and emotions.

Price: HK$70.00

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