Skip to main content

Eleanor of Aquitaine: Queen and Legend

Eleanor of Aquitaine: Queen and Legend

D. D. R. Owen

ISBN: 978-0-631-20101-4 May 1996 Wiley-Blackwell 268 Pages


In Stock



This fascinating new biography tells the story of one of the most influential figures of the twelfth century, Eleanor of Aquitaine, successively queen of France and of England. In tracing her life story Professor Owen reassesses her political importance during the reigns of her husband Henry II and her sons, Richard the Lionheart and John, and aims to separate the true historical Eleanor from the Eleanor of legend.
List of Plates.

Map of Plantagenet and French Dominions.

The Family of Eleanor of Aquitaine.



1. Lineage.

2. Life.

3. Legend.

4. Literature.

5. Portrait of a Queen.






"Roy Owen's intimate knowledge of medieval literature and his discrimination in using it enable him to look at Eleanor of Aquitaine both through the legends that built up around her life and through medieval epic and romance .... A stimulating and challenging book that depicts Eleanor sympathetically as a credible person." Marjorie Chibnall, Emeritus Fellow, Clare College, Cambridge

"D. D. R. Owen, well-known for his translations from Cretien de Troyes, has written a fine addition to the already substantial shelf of Eleanor of Aquitaine biography. He has something brand new and convincing to argue: that Eleanor's personality must have been shaped by the literary milieu in which she grew up, and that legends about her, in turn, shaped some of the literary traditions that developed alongside and after her career. This biography is as much about the literary response, medieval and modern, to the facts of Eleanor's life as it is a record of the facts themselves." Medium Aevum

"This is a fascinating and scholarly examination of how history and romance have become interwoven in Eleanor of Aquitaine. Recommended for academic and large public libraries." Library Journal

"Eleanor of Aquitaine is the stuff of which rather too much history has been made. It is therefore a relief to read D. D. R. Owen's new and well-judged assessment of this fascinating and enigmatic figure. This biography succeeds where so many others have failed precisely because of its honesty and its refusal to compromise with the evidence." Historian

* The first biography for almost twenty years of a fascinating and important figure.