Academic journal article Medium Aevum

William of Malmesbury: Gesta Pontificum Anglorum: The History of the English Bishops, Vol. I: Text and Translation

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

William of Malmesbury: Gesta Pontificum Anglorum: The History of the English Bishops, Vol. I: Text and Translation

Article excerpt

William of Malmesbury: Gesta pontificum Anglorum: The History of the English Bishops, Vol. I: Text and Translation, ed. and trans. M. Winterbottom with the assistance of R. M. Thompson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006). xxxiii + 693 pp. ISBN 978-0-19-820770-2. £110.00. Vol. II: Commentary, by R. M. Thompson, with the assistance of M. Winterbottom (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2007). liii + 416 pp. ISBN 978-0-19-922661-0. £85.00. William of Malmesbury (c.1090-c.1143) completed his Gesta pontificum Anglorum in 1125. This highly original work contains a set of English diocesan histories, with a chronology for each bishopric and a survey of religious houses, paying special attention to the histories and cults of English saints. It follows the pattern of the Gesta regum Anglorum (1118-26), edited by the same expert team in 1998-9, the five books of the GP organized by bishoprics mirroring the five books of the GR organized by kingdoms. The author regarded himself as a historian in the ancient tradition and employed a wide range of models and sources, some of which survive in the copies he had before him. Although written with an exclusively monastic audience in mind, it enjoyed considerable circulation and was widely used as a source by later writers. The edition is based on the autograph manuscript (A) in Magdalen College, Oxford, a 'clean but working copy', to which William continued to make revisions until the 11405, in some celebrated cases deleting or toning down passages that would cause offence. …

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