Biography is one of the oldest, most popular and most tenacious of literary forms. Perhaps the best attested narrative form of the Middle Ages, it continues to draw modern historians of the medieval period to its peculiar challenge to explicate the general through the particular: the biographer's decisions to impose or to resist the imposition of order on biographical remnants raise issues which go to the heart of historical method.
This collection, compiled in honour of a distinguished modern exponent of the art of biography, contains sixteen essays by leading scholars which examine the limits and possibilities of the genre for the period between 750AD and 1250AD. Ranging from pivotal figures such as Charlemagne, William the Conqueror and St Bernard, to the anonymous female skeleton in an Anglo-Saxon grave, from kings and queens to clerks and saints, and from individual to the collective biographies, this collection investigates both medieval biographical writings, and the issues surrounding the writing of medieval lives.
Professor DAVID BATES is Director of the Institute of Historical Research; Dr JULIA CRICK and Dr SARAH HAMILTON teach in the Department of History at the University of Exeter.
Contributors: JANET L. NELSON, ROBIN FLEMING, BARBARA YORKE, RICHARD ABELS, SIMON KEYNES, PAULINE STAFFORD, ELISABETH VAN HOUTS, DAVID BATES, JANE MARTINDALE, CHRISTOPHER HOLDSWORTH, LINDY GRANT, MARJORIE CHIBNALL, EDMUND KING, JOHN GILLINGHAM, DAVID CROUCH, NICHOLAS VINCENT
Product dimensions: 0.69 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 6.14 (d)
Table of Contents
List of Abbreviations xi
Did Charlemagne have a Private Life? 15
Bones for Historians: Putting the Body back into Biography 29
'Carriers of the Truth': Writing the Biographies of Anglo-Saxon Female Saints 49
Alfred and his Biographers: Images and Imagination 61
Re-Reading King Aethelred the Unready 77
Writing the Biography of Eleventh-Century Queens 99
The Flemish Contribution to Biographical Writing in England in the Eleventh Century 111
The Conqueror's Earliest Historians and the Writing of his Biography 129
Secular Propaganda and Aristocratic Values: The Autobiographies of Count Fulk le Rechin of Anjou and Count William of Poitou, Duke of Aquitaine 143
Reading the Signs: Bernard of Clairvaux and his Miracles 161
Arnulf's Mentor: Geoffrey of Leves, Bishop of Chartres 173
The Empress Matilda as a Subject for Biography 185
The Gesta Stephani 195
Writing the Biography of Roger of Howden, King's Clerk and Chronicler 207
Writing a Biography in the Thirteenth Century: The Construction and Composition of the 'History of William Marshal' 221
The Strange Case of the Missing Biographies: The Lives of thePlantagenet Kings of England 1154-1272 237