Jean de Venette : biography
Jean de Venette, or Jean FillonsJean Birdsall edited by Richard A. Newhall. The Chronicles of Jean de Venette (N.Y. Columbia University Press. 1953) Introduction par 2) ( – ) was a French Carmelite friar, from Venette, Oise, who became the Prior of the Carmelite monastery in the Place Maubert, Paris, and was a Provincial Superior of France from 1341 to 1366./ He is the author of L’Histoire des Trois Maries, a long French poem on the legend of the Three Marys, giving his name at the start of the text,"L’Histoire Des Trois Maries" by Jean de Venette, O. Carm, ed. Michael T. Driscoll, Centre de Recherche et de Documentation, 1975 and has since 1735 been also regarded as the author of an anonymous Latin chronicle of the period of the Hundred Years War between England and France. In recent decades it has been questioned whether these were in fact the same author, although it seems that both were Carmelites. Other historians see no reason to create an extra author,Cohn, Samuel Kline. , Manchester University Press, 2004. p. 170 but recent French publications tend to refer to the "Chronique dite de Jean de Venette" ("Chronicle said to be by Jean de Venette").By his own account the chronicler was of peasant origin, and his view of the events of his lifetime has a significantly different perspective from that of other chroniclers.Jean Birdsall edited by Richard A. Newhall. The Chronicles of Jean de Venette (N.Y. Columbia University Press. 1953) Introduction
His time and his work
Venette had a master in theology from the University of Paris and spent a great deal of his time promoting study amaong the younger members of the Carmelite, and he gathered information on the earlier history of the Carmelite Order going all the way back to Elijah, its Founder. Venette regarded ignorance as the cause of many of the problems of his time, including the Black Death and encouraged many of the Carmelites to learn to read and write.Jean Birdsall edited by Richard A. Newhall. The Chronicles of Jean de Venette (N.Y. Columbia University Press. 1953) p. 3-5.
What is noteworthy and perhaps unique about Jean de Venette’s work is that he had a great understanding and sympathy for the peasants. Most chroniclers wrote from the perspective of the nobles. There can be no doubt that his own humble beginnings afforded him a unique understanding of the hard life of these peasants.Calmette, L’Elaboration de mone moderne, p. 44 His work covers many important events of the fourteenth century including, Black Death, the The Hundred Years’ War and The Peasant’s War.
The Chronicle is a narrative of several historical events spanning the years of 1340 and 1368, written as early as 1340, until Jean de Venette’s death at or soon after the year 1368. When it was first published in the Spicilegium, vol. 3, it was included as the "second continuation" of the popular earlier chronicle of William of Nangis (died 1300).Jean Birdsall edited by Richard A. Newhall. The Chronicles of Jean de Venette (N.Y. Columbia University Press. 1953) Introduction This survived in a number of manuscripts, but it was later realized that one MS British Library MS Arundel 28, contains only Venette’s chronicle, in a version with significant differences to those appended elsewhere to Nangis’ work. This manuscript was later translated into English by Jean Birdsall, and was published as The Chronicle of Jean de Venette in 1953, edited and annotated by Richard A. Newhall, Brown Professor of European History, Williams College. Brown and Birdsall’s contention that the Arundel MS contains a text closer to Venette’s original than other versions has been generally accepted.The Chronicle of Jean de Venette by R. A. Newhall, Review by John Le Patourel, The English Historical Review, Vol. 70, No. 274 (Jan., 1955), pp. 147-148, ; Jean Birdsall was late Associate Professor of History, Vassar College, Richard A. Newhall, Brown Professor of European History, Williams College.