Academic journal article Medium Aevum

A Companion to Wace

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

A Companion to Wace

Article excerpt

Françoise H. M. Le Saux, A Companion to Wace (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2005). viii + 305 pp. ISBN 1-84384-043-X. £45.00.

Does Wace need a companion? An easy question to answer, when we realize that the last book about this pioneer of vernacular history-writing is over fifty years old; scholarship in Old French historiography has moved on since then. Françoise Le Saux's admirable volume is everything its tide implies: a handbook, a summa, and a guidebook for anyone who is interested in getting to know Wace. Its three sections, covering respectively his early, hagiographical writings (seventy pages), his fantastically popular Roman de Brut (seventy pages), and his problematic Roman de Rou (125 pages), provide a wealth of information about the author's sources and literary style, as well as giving a context of patronage and audience, all of which shows the natural progression of both Wace's literary career and his artistic development. Le Saux also provides what is possibly the first truly convincing literary reason for Wace's decision to stop the Roman de Rou where he did: for a work tightly focused on the Norman dukes, the battle of Tinchebrai and the annexation of Normandy to the English crown automatically imply 'the end of history'.

The main shortcomings of the book are those intrinsic to a companion of this type. How much to tell? How much can be assumed on the part of the reader? Do we in fact need to have explained that medieval writers, unlike modern historians, did not dismiss ghost stories out of hand? …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.