Gesta Regum Anglorum: The History of the English Kings - Vol. 2

Gesta Regum Anglorum: The History of the English Kings - Vol. 2

Gesta Regum Anglorum: The History of the English Kings - Vol. 2

Gesta Regum Anglorum: The History of the English Kings - Vol. 2

Synopsis

William of Malmesbury's Gesta Regum Anglorum (The Deeds of the English Kings) is one of the great histories of England. Apart from its formidable learning, it is characterized by narrative skill and entertainment value. This edition, with facing-page English translation, provides for the first time a detailed commentary on all aspects of the work.

Excerpt

Unlike Volume I, this one is entirely the work of the present editors. Part of the original proposal (see Vol. i, p. v) was the notion that the text and translation of gr should be accompanied by a commentary, which was to be the responsibility of Sir Richard Southern. However, the editorial disagreement between Mynors and Southern mentioned below (pp. xviii-xxi) prevented this part of the enterprise from proceeding. in the Introduction, the account of the development of the text of gr is MW's, while rmt is responsible for the footnotes to Sharpe's text (below, pp. xxxvi-xlvi) and for the bibliography of William's writings. the Commentary is mainly the work of rmt, but with very considerable input from mw. in particular, mw has read through all of William's other works, and most of the cross-references to them are his. As in Vol. i, each editor has read through and contributed to the work of the other, so that responsibility for the complete work is to that extent a dual one.

Roger Mynors thought of commentary as a high art difficult of execution, and often held forth, with acerbic and entertaining eloquence, on the shortcomings of commentators on classical texts. Towards the end of his life he became querulous about his own forthcoming commentary on Virgil Georgics, and rmt has often had in mind Mynors' colourful reference, in a letter to David Howlett (9 Jan. 1987), to his 'famous commentary . . . which was to have been a masterpiece and now looks like an extinct volcano in use as the town tip'. He has also had ever more firmly in mind Southern's feelings, expressed in a much earlier letter to Mynors (31 Dec. 1974), after receiving the typescript of Mynors' Latin text:

'I've read . . . the whole . . . with immense interest, excitement sometimes, growing respect mostly -- and with a daunting sense of how much needs to be done to annotate [William] in a way that will do justice to the complexity of his historical vision, the variety . . .

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