This very popular work circulated in manuscript throughout the late Middle Ages, beginning with a French text written ca 1371, describing a journey made between 1322 and 1356. There are numerous printed versions in various languages beginning with an Italian edition in the 16th century. The popularity of the work continued well into the 19th century. Mandeville’s Voyages illustrates the general geographical ideas that existed in the late 14th century, and it was accepted as an authentic account of travel. We now know that the so-called author Sir Jehan Mandeville was a fictitious knight, and his book of travels is a description compiled from various sources, either by Jean d’Outremeuse, apparently based on information given to him by a citizen of Liège named Jehan à la Barbe [=Jehan de Bourgogne], who died in 1372, or by a Fleming called Johannes Longus [=Jean le Long]. No matter who the author, Mandeville’s travels is considered one of the finest works of imaginative literature of the medieval period.
The Voyages & Travels Of Sir John Mandevile, Knight, Wherein is set down the Way to the Holy Land, and to Hierusalem: As also to the Lands of the Great Caan, and of Prestor John: to Inde, and divers other Countries: Together with many and strange Marvels therein. London, Printed for R. Scot, T. Basset, J Wright, and
R. Chiswel, 1684.