Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The 'Chronica Maiora' of Thomas Walsingham (1376-1422)

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The 'Chronica Maiora' of Thomas Walsingham (1376-1422)

Article excerpt

The 'Chronica maiora' of Thomas Walsingham (1376-1422), trans. David Freest, introd. and notes by James G. Clark (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2005). iv + 471 pp. ISBN 1-84383-144-9. £75.00. New editions of Thomas Walsingham's Chronica maiora seem to be appearing like buses; there has not been one since 1937, and now two have come along at the same time. The first part of the Oxford University Press edition and facing-page translation appeared a couple of years ago (The St Albans Chronicle: The 'Chronica maiora' of Thomas Walsingham, I: 1376-1394, ed. and trans. John Taylor, Wendy R. Childs, and Leslie Watkiss - reviewed in Medium AEvum 74), followed by the present offering, a single-volume translation of the entire Chronica maiora. It is translated from H. T. Riley's Rolls Series edition (published as the Historia Anglicana, in 1863-4), collated with V. H. Galbraith's 1937 edition of a different manuscript, covering the years 1406 to 1420. David Freest therefore presents a composite version of Walsingham's work, though he does not differentiate the various recensions that lie behind the translation. Nor does he provide the so-called 'Scandalous chronicle', the original account of the years 1376-7 which included a series of lively and virulent denunciations of John of Gaunt, subsequently replaced by the toned-down version included here.

Preest's translation is readable, and reasonably accurate, if sometimes slightly paraphrased. …

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