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A fine Burgundy

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

In the classic 1949 Ealing Films comedy Passport to Pimlico, a charter of Edward IV is discovered which ceded a house and its estate to the Duke of Burgundy. This charter is found still to be valid and Pimlico, therefore, is part of Burgundy. For many this is the first encounter with the history of the French province, once a mighty Dukedom and key player in French and world politics. It was also a significant territory for English history, but a somewhat elusive topic for English readers. Now there is a lauded 700 page account of a thousand years of Burgundian history which has been a best-seller in Europe. Translated to English from its original Dutch, The Head of Zeus released this in hardback in October. ‘The Burgundians: A Vanished Empire’ by Bart Van Loo has been lauded as a publishing phenomenon in Europe and is set also to be a major success in the English speaking world. The publisher advertises the book as “The story of the Burgundian elite and its remarkable court and culture, a medieval and early modern epic of dynastic struggle, artistic achievement and eventual extinction.” For those hesitant to invest in a French history title the paperback is due in a year, or the ebook version is available now at a lower price. ISBN 9781789543438