In the pages that follow I have tried to write the history of saints' legends as one part of the survey of English literature to be presented by the series of which this volume is a member. My difficulties have been many. Although the lives of saints began to affect the vernacular literatures of Europe as soon as such literatures came into being, and although legends in the vulgar tongues were everywhere exceedingly popular until modern times, they have been little studied, at least in their relations to one another and to their historical backgrounds. I have had, as a matter of fact, no model for this book, since no such study has hitherto been made for any of the European literatures. I have had at once the pleasures and the pains of mapping out a new region. I can only hope that I have escaped some of the errors to which the pioneer in cartography is liable.
Furthermore, it has required a good deal of patience to disentangle what I can only describe as the snarl of legends from the later Middle Ages. Here, again, other scholars have given me little help, though I must gratefully acknowledge my indebtedness to Dr. Horstmann, who by his indomitable zeal in editing texts has done more than any other one man to make my study possible. His work has never been recognized at its true worth, nor has . . .