The Vita Wulfstani of William of Malmesbury: To Which Are Added the Extant Abridgments of This Work and the Miracles and Translation of St. Wulfstan

The Vita Wulfstani of William of Malmesbury: To Which Are Added the Extant Abridgments of This Work and the Miracles and Translation of St. Wulfstan

The Vita Wulfstani of William of Malmesbury: To Which Are Added the Extant Abridgments of This Work and the Miracles and Translation of St. Wulfstan

The Vita Wulfstani of William of Malmesbury: To Which Are Added the Extant Abridgments of This Work and the Miracles and Translation of St. Wulfstan

Excerpt

It was the pious opinion of William of Malmesbury that so long as the universe endures and any literature survives in the world there will be an audience for the story of Wulfstan. His prophecy has been fulfilled in part, for the Life was much read in the Middle Ages, even if it did not secure the popularity attained by the lives of Wulfstan's contemporary, Edward the Confessor; while in modern times, when the monastic communities for whose edification the biography was primarily intended have passed away, historians and antiquaries have not wholly neglected it, though it has hardly received the attention which it deserves. The historical importance of the Life and its bearing upon contemporary literature are discussed in the Introduction. The abridgments have been published because, though they add little to our knowledge of Wulfstan, they are important, since they show how a historical text was treated when it was shortened for practical purposes. It sometimes happens that valuable historical texts are preserved only in abridgment, and the various forms assumed by the Vita Wulfstani in these conditions have a bearing upon the general criticism of this class of literature. The value of the Miracles, preserved, it seems, in one manuscript only, will be evident to all who read them. It has been impossible in the Introduction to mention more than a few points of interest.

In preparing this edition the aim of the editor has been to place before the reader the texts of the Lives and Miracles as preserved in the manuscripts, with just so much explanatory material as seems necessary. It was hoped that the original punctuation might be reproduced exactly, but since this proved impossible, a compromise was agreed upon with the consent of the Council of the Royal Historical Society. The punctuation of the manuscripts has been followed so far as is possible without the employment of . . .

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