The Works of Chardri: The Life of the Seven Sleepers The Life of St. Josaphaz and The Little Debate

French of England Translation Series (FRETS), Vol. 9

The Works of Chardri: The Life of the Seven Sleepers, The Life of St. Josaphaz and The Little Debate

Translated by Neil Cartlidge
2015 | 164 + xvi pp. | 1 ills. | 978-0-86698-513-0 | Hardcover 6 x 9 in
MRTS 462 | $54 | £38 |

This book contains the first published translations (into any modern language) of the complete works of a thirteenth-century Anglo-French writer who identifies himself by the mysterious name “Chardri” (perhaps an anagram of “Richard”). He is the author of two particularly imaginative versions of legends about Christian saints: The Life of the Seven Sleepers and The Life of St. Josaphaz. Both of these stories are among the most remarkable products of the complex cultural interchanges that took place between East and West throughout the Middle Ages. Seven Sleepers recounts the legend of seven young men from the city of Ephesus, who are rescued from persecution only by a miraculous sleep that lasts for over three centuries. The protagonist of Josaphaz is essentially a version of the Buddha himself, who is depicted here as a beautiful young prince of India converted to Christianity, but then subjected to a series of deceptions and temptations at the hands of his doting but tyrannical father. The third of the three works ascribed to Chardri, The Little Debate, is a philosophical dialogue between two representative figures, an Old Man and a Young Man, who together present lively and dramatically contrasting responses to the problem of human suffering in the world.