Monday, March 5, 2012

Fiction: An Art Form That Has Transcended Time by Eliza Knight

Welcome readers to History Ink! We are a group of historical authors, excited to bring you the joys of history and romance!

Since the dawn of time, storytellers have roamed the earth, bringing tales of love, joy, sadness, strife and more to eagerly awaiting ears. I thought it fitting for the very first post on History Ink, to talk a little bit about where we historical authors come from.

Fictional writers of today are not the first to come up with genres. Fiction writing has been around for hundreds of years—Le Morte D’Arthur is a published work (of tragic romantic tales!) regarding King Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot and the Knights of the Round Table, by Sir Thomas Malory written in 1485. It opens with this:

IT befell in the days of Uther Pendragon, when he was king of all England, and so reigned, that there was a mighty duke in Cornwall that held war against him long time. And the duke was called the Duke of Tintagil. And so by means King Uther sent for this duke, charging him to bring his wife with him, for she was called a fair lady, and a passing wise, and her name was called Igraine.

But even before Le Morte D’Arthur, there was Beowulf—a heroic epic poem—written somewhere between the 8th and 11th century, and The Canterbury Talesa collection of frame tales with religious and political undertones—by Chaucer, written in the late 14th century.

And then there were those who devoted their lives to writing tales and performing them aloud (not sure I could do this, but I’d be happy to have one of my stories made into a movie!). In the Middle Ages (until around the 15th century) troubadours were popular storytellers, often paid by a patron to entertain their household, court or village. They wrote in Occitan verse.

While troubadours sang or chanted their poetic tales of courtly love and chivalry, they also had varying genres… many in fact. They even followed rules of composition, just like we do today.  A note here, most minstrels and jongleurs performed tales written by troubadours, whereas a troubadour often wrote and performed his own work. Troubadours did not only perform for their patrons. They often entered contests! Just like many writers today have their work judged, troubadours did as well.

A few troubadour genres were:

·       Alba —the song of parting lovers as dawn approaches
·      Cantos, originally vers— a love song
·       Dansa— a song designed for dancing
·       Enuig— a poem expressing complaints
·       Gap— a boasting song, sometimes presented as a challenge
·       Maldit— a song complaining about a lady's behavior and character
·       Planh— a funeral lament
·       Sonnet (sonet)— Occitan verse with a specific rhyming pattern

The earliest recorded work (career from 1086-1126) of a troubadour is that of the William IX Duke of Aquitaine (Eleanor of Aquitaine was his granddaughter). Many of his works related to the crusades, of which he fought in, but he also wrote of sex, love, women.

A couple of verses from William IX’s work, click the titles to read them in whole… If you’d like to read more (there are 11 total), click here.

Comrades, I shall write a fitting poem,
one with more folly than sense,
all laden with love, joy and youth.

And let he be called a knave, who doesn't understand it,
or learn it, for that matter, by heart:
people who like poetry hardly part from love.

You shall hear how much I fucked them:
a hundred and eighty-eight times,
so much that they almost broke my equipment
and my tool;
and I can't describe the aching, so much I was taken.

Since I feel like singing,
I'll write a verse I grieve over:
I shall never be a vassal anymore
in Poitiers nor in Limoges

For now I shall be exiled:
in a dreadful fright, in great peril,
in war, shall I leave my son,
and his neighbours shall turn on him.

If you’re interested in reading more medieval troubadour works click here.

I am fascinated with period works. I love to read them, dissect them, and if I can, use them within my works to add flavor and realism. If I could travel back in time, I would love to meet the authors of some of these famous works that have transcended hundreds, even a thousand years.

Thanks for visiting with us today! I’m happy to give one commenter a signed paperback copy of my medieval romance, A LADY’S CHARADE. (Winner drawn the evening of 3/6/12)


From across a field of battle, English knight, Alexander, Lord Hardwyck, spots the object of his desire—and his conquest, Scottish traitor Lady Chloe.

Her lies could be her undoing…

Abandoned across the border and disguised for her safety, Chloe realizes the man who besieged her home in Scotland has now become her savior in England. Her life in danger, she vows to keep her identity secret, lest she suffer his wrath, for he wants her dead.

Or love could claim them both and unravel two countries in the process…

Alexander suspects Chloe is not who she says she is and has declared war on the angelic vixen who's laid claim to his heart. A fierce battle of the minds it will be, for once the truth is revealed they will both have to choose between love and duty.

Available now in print and ebook from:

A LADY’S CHARADE has been on the Apple I-Books Top 100 Historical Romance Novels list since its release, and has received rave reviews.

Eliza Knight is the multi-published, award-winning author of sizzling historical romance and erotic romance. While not reading, writing or researching for her latest book, she chases after her three children. In her spare time (if there is such a thing…) she likes daydreaming, wine-tasting, traveling, hiking, staring at the stars, watching movies, shopping and visiting with family and friends. She lives atop a small mountain, and enjoys cold winter nights when she can curl up in front of a roaring fire with her own knight in shining armor. Visit Eliza at or her historical blog, History Undressed, which was recently mentioned in a feature article in The Wall Street Journal.


  1. Congratulations on the launch of History Ink. What a great site. Who knew the medieval troubadours were Interesting!

  2. Beautiful debut post, Eliza. I don't read much period literature, but you've inspired me to give it a try. A Lady's Charade sounds like my kind of book.

  3. Thank you Margery :) I've turned many a non-period reader!

  4. Fab post, Eliza. Many congrats on the launch. I'll be following... :-)

  5. Excellent first post. I do love your cover. Eliza.

    1. Thank you Tarah! Yours is also lovely!

  6. Excellent new blog. I already just subscribed. I hope you enter my name in your first giveaway and I hope you choose me!


    1. Thank you Soft Fuzzy Sweater :) You are entered!

  7. Congratulations on a History Ink, and a great inaugural post! I'm looking forward to more :)

  8. Wow, that William IX was quite a guy! Too bad his, err, terminology isn't in English so we can get some sense of slang words for erotic medievals...LOL

  9. Congratulations on your new site! Medievals are my favorite - they really call to me for some reason! Best of luck!


  10. Well done Eliza. You did us proud. A great beginning.

  11. Congratulations on the new site. I look forward to hearing from all the talented authors.

  12. I enjoyed visiting the site, Eliza. Congratulations! Great book as well.

  13. Congratulations on the new site! I can't wait to read you book!

  14. Congrats on the new site. Awesome. This book sounds great.Just placed on my TBR list.

  15. I made it. ahhhh. And yes, Morte d'Arthur, such a wonderful experience. I get so lost in those lyricsAlfred Lord Tennyson, IDYLLS OF THE KING trasnports me into the mists and I never with to return. But I do sadly

    1. Ah, yes... Tennyson... sigh... Wish time travel were possible.

  16. Just randomized all of the entries... and the winner is.... April! Please contact me via email so I can get your mailing address :) writer(at)elizaknight(dot)com.

    Thank you all for visiting!

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