Thursday, March 08, 2007

History of William Marshal now complete in English translation

William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke is one of history's most famous knights on the basis of an early verse biography that very few people have read.

Despite the fact that the History of William Marshal tells us most of what we know about early French melee tournaments, and that it preserves the memories of a man who knew every English king between Stephen and Henry III, only those who are proficient in 12th century French and have access to a scarce 19th century edition have been able to read the work. The rest of us have had to rely on summaries by various modern scholars. Those scholars include some of the best in the field, but still.

Recently the Anglo-Norman Text Society has been publishing an edition and English translation in three volumes: two of the poem itself as edited by A.J. Holden and translated by S. Gregory, and the third volume of commentary and notes by D. Crouch. Volume 3 has just come out, completing the set.

I bought volume 1 a couple of years back because I'm interested in early tournaments, but I was impressed by the richness of the source. Anyone interested in researching early Plantagenet history will want to read it.

The books are not easy to find. They don't show up on the US version of Amazon, for instance. Therefore I am including ordering information from the form sent me by the publisher:

Anglo-Norman Text Society, Birbeck College

Send me ......... copy/copies of volume I/II/III of the History of William Marshal @ 35 pounds (members of the ANTS) or 49 pounds + 4.50 pounds p. & p. for each volume. I enclose total payment of ......... (cheque payable to "Anglo-Norman Text Society" in sterling only).



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