Poison Pen Press

Reference Tools

At Home in Renaissance Italy - $45.00 - TOS

Marts Ajmar-Wollheim & Flora Dennis, editors. This lavishly illustrated volume is the first to consider the urban Italian household as a crucible for the development of art & culture. Evoking the spaces in which everyday lives were lived, it presents an entirely fresh approach to the period. Sections include: Defining the Casa, Living, Everyday Activities, Sociability & Entertainment, Art & Objects. Oversize Paper, dw, 420pp, index, extensive bibliog., notes & sources,  summary catalog w/sources of plates, color photos on almost every page  Victoria & Albert/Getty


Compendium of Common Knowledge 1558 – 1603 - $19.95

Maggie Secara. This book collects material useful to one who wishes to speak and behave more forsoothly. It offers insights into ordinary lives-both common and noble-in Elizabethan England. There are notes on food, occupations, games, religion, manners, attitudes, and education-the little details that make up daily life, that everyone knows without thinking. As recommended in Tournaments Illuminated. Secara Books


Far Traveler: voyages of a Viking Woman - $15.00

Nancy Marie Brown. 500 years before Columbus, a Viking woman named Gudrid sailed off the edge of the known world.  She landed in the New World and lived there for three years, giving birth to a baby before sailing home. Or so the Icelandic sagas say. Even after archeologists found a Viking longhouse in Newfoundland, no one believed that the details of Gudrid’s story were true. Then, in 2001, a team of scientists discovered what may have been this pioneering woman’s last house, buried under a hay field in Iceland, just where the sagas suggested it could be. Joining scientists experimenting with cutting edge technology and the latest archeological techniques, and tracing Gudrid’s steps on land and in the sagas, the author reconstructs a life that spanned-and expanded-the bounds of the then-known world. She also sheds new light on the society that gave rise to a woman even more extraordinary than legend has painted her. Pb, 320pp. Harcourt


Fifty Plants that Changed the Course of History - $29.95

Bill Laws. A beautifully presented guide to the plants that have had the greatest impact on human civilization. Each entry includes a description, botanical name, range, and primary functions – edible, medicinal, commercial, or practical. Concise text is highlighted by elegant drawings and photos. Discusses (among others)  rice, tea, cotton, rubber, wheat, sugarcane, tobacco, wine grapes, corn, agave, pineapple, hemp, coconut, eucalyptus, sweet pea, white mulberry, English oak, white willow. Hardcover, 224 pp, full color throughout. Index, further reading, useful websites. Firefly Books


Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook - $35

Deborah Robson & Carol Ekarius. This book is aimed at both spinners, weavers, and other fiber artists, and also at animal raisers. It is a one-of-a-kind j photographic encyclopedia of more than 200 animals and the fibers they produce. It covers almost every breed of sheep known, as well as camelids, goats, bison, horses, rabbits, and dogs. Each spread includes photos of the animal, its raw fleece, cleaned fleece, spun yarn, and samples of that yarn knit and woven. Both authors are well-known crafters. Hardcover, 448pp. Storey.

Galateo, or, The Rules of Polite Behavior - $15http://www.poisonpenpress.com/images/new2.gif

Edited and translated by M. F. Rusnak. This is a 16th century treatise on polite behavior written by Giovanni Della Casa for the benefit of his nephew, a young Florentine destined for greatness. As relevant today as it was then, this book deals with such varied subjects as dress codes, charming conversation and off-color jokes, eating habits and hairstyles, and literary language. More than a mere etiquette book, this restored edition will be entertaining (and even useful) for anyone making their way in modern polite society. Hardcover, 104 pp, 4 halftones. University of Chicago Press



Illuminated Manuscripts From Belgium and the Netherlands - $19.95

Thomas Kren. During the 15th & 16th centuries, the area now known as Belgium and the Netherlands produced one of the greatest flowerings of the art of illumination anywhere in Europe. The region’s colorful, naturalistically painted books were eagerly sought. This collection contains works by the finest , most original artists, made for the most discerning patrons. Pb, 96pp, 85 color illus. Getty


Illuminated Manuscripts of Germany and Central Europe - $19.95

Thomas Kren. Using the same format as its sister volume on Belgian and Netherlandish manuscripts, this book offers useful guides to clothing in period. Tr paper, 110 color illus, 132pp. Getty 


Imagining the Past in France: History in manuscript painting, 1250 – 1500. - $49.95http://www.poisonpenpress.com/images/new2.gif

Elizabeth Morrison & Anne D, Hedeman. In this period, the most important & original work was being done in secular manuscripts. This volume celebrates the vivid historical imagery produced then. The images enabled the past to come alive before the eyes of medieval readers, relating the adventures of epic figures of the past. 55 manuscripts, plus medieval objects ranging from tapestries to ivory boxes, are presented here. An exhibition of the same name will be at the Getty from 11/16/11 to 2/6/12.  Full color throughout. 384pp, 9x12 inches; 23 p bibliog., index of names & texts, index of works of art.  Getty

Knives & Scabbards: Medieval Finds from Excavations in London - $37.95
J Cowgill, M de Neergaard, N Griffiths. Reprinted from the Museum of London’s original publication. This catalog details over 500 items found in the archeological excavation of 12th century London middens.25 b/w illos, much highly technical material. For the serious recreationist or craftsman: a classic work of scholarship. Paper,184pp. Boydell & Brewer.

The Known World Handbook, 2010 edition - $30.00 http://www.poisonpenpress.com/images/new2.gif

Wes Hanna ( Master Kainin Tepesa, OP), editor. At last! A new edition of the most basic reference tool for medieval recreationists! Contains basic instruction on heavy fighting and rapier, arts & sciences of all kinds, costuming, camping, armoring, awards & heraldry, and many many other topics. An indispensible guide. Perfect bound, 8.5x11, 222 pp, numerous b/w illus, photos, diagrams, charts. SCA

Life Along the Silk Road - $24.95
Susan Whitfield. Concentrates on the lives of 10 individuals during the period AD 750 – 1000, focusing heavily on China, but covering the area of the Silk Road. Although some of these people are historic, others are composites used to illustrate the lives of similar people during the period. Events are all taken from contemporary sources. Extensive index, Table of Rulers 739-960 (Frankish, Byzantine, Arab, Tibetan, Turkish/Uighur, Chinese). pb, 242pp, 8 pages color, 8 b/w illus. University of California Press.



Medieval & Renaissance Furniture - $19.95 http://www.poisonpenpress.com/images/new2.gif

Daniel Diehl & Mark P Donnelly.36 projects for historic benches, chairs, tables, cupboards, chests, shelves, beds, and doors, all done with simple woodworking tools  Detailed plans based on careful study and measurement of original pieces and accurate reproductions Step-by-step instructions, materials lists, and notes on woodworking, metalworking, and finishing  Foreword by Roy Underhill of the PBS series The Woodwright's Shop

Medieval Household: Daily Living c. 1150-1450 - $60.00 http://www.poisonpenpress.com/images/new2.gif

Geoff Egan. This book brings together the astonishing diversity of excavated furnishings and artifacts from medieval London homes. These include roofing and other structural items, decorative fixtures and fittings, and assortments of culinary utensils, writing instruments, and toys and weights. Illustrating more than 1,000 items from archeological digs in London, this catalog provides a fascinating account of how metalwork and glassware trends changed during the period. Long unavailable, this new release is a boon to the medieval scholar. Hardcover, 342pp, b/w photos, diagrams and sketches throughout. Extensive bibliog. Boydell Press.


Medieval Painting in Bohemia – SALE! $30.00

Jan Royt.  Originally published in Czech in 2002, and now available in English, this book assesses the history of painting in Bohemia and Moravia from the late 9th century to 1526. This book will be an indispensable guide for anyone curious about this region. HC, 160pp, 80 color plates. Karolinum Press


Medieval Pets - $45.00http://www.poisonpenpress.com/images/new2.gif

Kathleen Walker-Meikle. Animals in the Middle Ages have often been discussed, but this book takes a different approach, showing that they were also beloved domestic companions. It offers a full survey of pets and pet-keeping, including the problems that keeping pets could cause. Many charming illustrations. 196pp, 10 b/w & 8 line illus, HC. Boydell & Brewer


The Odyssey of Ibn Battuta: Uncommon Tales of a Medieval Adventurer - $25.00

David Waines. Battuta, born in 14th century Morocco, was one of the world’s great travelers. He left an account of his remarkable journeys throughout the Islamic world and beyond. The indefatigable Battuta brought to vivid life a medieval world rimming with marvel and mystery. He exhibited an omnivorous interest in food & drink, religious differences, and ideas about purity, disease, women, and sex. The author gives a gripping treatment of the life and times of one of history’s most daring, and at the same time most human, adventurers. PB, 240pp, 22 halftones. University of Chicago Press


Passions and Tempers: a history of the humors - $14.95

Noga Arikha. The humors were substances thought to circulate within the body and determine a person’s health, mood, and character. Eating food that was ‘cold’ in nature would thus help to balance a person who was ‘hot’ or choleric in temperament, for example. This theory remained an inexact but powerful tool for 2,500 years, surviving scientific changes and offering guidance to physicians and cooks alike. This book examines these theories & follows them from their Western origin in ancient Greece to their present-day versions. Pb, 356pp, 25p index, notes, chapter-by-chapter bibliog. (divided into primary & secondary sources), 30 b/w illos. Ecco


Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire - $15.95’

Amy B Greenfield. A brief history of dyeing in the Ancient and Medieval world is followed by an intensive history of the cochineal dyestuff: its origins, cultivation, spread to Europe, and attempts to cultivate it outside Mexico & South America. Fascinating and well-written. Paper, 338pp, extensive notes, 25p bibliog., index, 12 color illos & numerous b/w illos. Harper Collins


Practical Pyromaniac - $16.95http://www.poisonpenpress.com/images/new2.gif

William Gurstelle. How to build fire tornadoes, one-candlepower engines, Great Balls of Fire, fire (bow) drill and many more incendiary devices. Also includes helpful instructions on making cloth fire-proof, paper fire-resistant, and constructing a fire extinguisher. Trade paper, 212pp. index, b/w photos & diagrams, bibliog., index. Chicago Review Press.


Pennsic War – VIDEO - $19.95http://www.poisonpenpress.com/images/new2.gif

Reissue of this DVD suitable for showing at demos. Beautifully produced, with excellent music background. Watch This Space.


Return to Pennsic - VIDEO Limited Preview Edition- $14.95http://www.poisonpenpress.com/images/new2.gif

A video documentary, with music by Ken Weissman and performances by Wolgemut, Sick, and Clan Tynker. A long time ago, a young man from Brooklyn helped a small team of videographers create a documentary of the SCA’s 20th Pennsic War. Twenty years later, he returned to Pennsic, with a friend who had no idea what he was getting himself into. Join Lord Ervald the Optimistic  and “Simply the Best” G.A. West as they experience Pennsic from two vastly different viewpoints. This preview edition is limited to 100 copies, and comes with an $8 off coupon for any subsequent edition of “Return to Pennsic.” Watch This Space

Seafarers, Merchants and Pirates in the Middle Ages - $24.95 http://www.poisonpenpress.com/images/new2.gif

Dirk Meier, trans Angus McGeoch. A vivid and highly-illustrated history of seafaring in the Middle Ages based on archeological evidence and contemporary accounts. PB, 192pp, 44 color & 28 b/w illus. Boydell & Brewer

Shoes and Pattens - see Costume

The St. Albans Psalter: Painting and Prayer in Medieval England - $25.00http://www.poisonpenpress.com/images/new2.gif

Kristen Collins, Peter, Kidd, and Nancy Turner. This book is one of the most important, famous, and puzzling books produced in 12th century England. The manuscript’s illustrations signal the arrival of the Romanesque style. The psalter includes more than40 full color illuminations and over 200 historical initials. Published for the exhibition at the Gerry Museum (9/20/13 through 2/2/14.) Paper, 104 pp, 94 color and 2 b/w illus. Getty

Textiles & Clothing - see Costume

Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the 14th Century - $26.00

Ian Mortimer. Profiles everyday life in 14th-century England, covering everything from period beliefs and styles to hygiene and medical practices, in a history that also discusses the influence of warfare. HC, 352pp. Touchstone


Treasures of the Royal Courts: Tudors, Stuarts and Russian Tsars - $45

Teresa Murdoch & Olga Dimitrieva. This beautiful book explores the diplomatic, trade and cultural exchanges between the courts of Britain and Russia, from the reign of Henry VIII to the death of Charles II. Through the material life of the courts, the gifts of the diplomats and the commissions of the monarchs, the book presents an overview of privileged living in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries - illustrating the material life of the leading personalities of the period. Engaging and authoritative, Treasures of the Royal Courts uses superb new photography to illustrate chapters on diplomacy, silver, portraits, miniatures, arms and armour, heraldry, textiles and jewelry by experts from the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Kremlin Museum, Moscow. Hardcover, dw, 176 pp. Victoria & Albert Museum.


U.S. Against the World - $14.95

America’s first team at Europe’s oldest Sport! With music by Wolgemut and Ken Weissman. In 2012, the first America team went to the Battle of the Nations, the world championships of medieval armored combat, to test their mettle against teams from around the world. This video records the performance of Team USA in singles bouts and melees, showing the team’s toughness, enthusiasm, chivalry, and good will. Includes an interview with the team’s field commander, Andre Sinou, about the development of the team. Watch This Space.


Women’s Work: Embroidery in Colonial Boston - $40.00http://www.poisonpenpress.com/images/new2.gif

Pamela A Parmal. Charming us with their whimsy and conjuring a warm domesticity, embroideries from the colonial era also help illuminate the lives of the women who made them. Colonial women kept these works (which could take years to complete and used materials brought great distances) and displayed them proudly. This book tells the stories of six women and how needlework shaped their lives. Not only did it promote the silk trade, it allowed women to sell supplies and patterns, and run schools to train young girls in this fine art. HC, dw, 184pp, 120 color illus. Museum of Fine Arts.


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