zcat_abroad: (Bede)
[personal profile] zcat_abroad
The problem with reading William of Malmsbury, even just for fun, is that you want to quote soooo much. At anyone who'll stand still for five minutes.  So here are some quotes - you don't have to listen.

On other historians: "As for Aethelward... the less said of him the better; I would have approved his intention, did I not find his language distasteful. Nor have I overlooked the careful work of Eadmer, sober and elegant in style, ... But he omits 223 after Bede which he thought unworthy of remark, and in that interval history limps along with no support from literature."
 
Later in the Prologue, he goes on about Aethelward again: " This is my undertaking, if only the favour of Heaven smile on my adventure and steer me past the rocks of rough and rugged style, on which Aethelward, in his search for jingling phrase and borrowed finery, so piteously was wrecked."

And then he gives warning of possible inaccuracies, saying that if anyone reads his work, "let him be warned that I guarantee the truth of nothing in past time except the sequences of events; the credit of my narrative must rest with my authorities [i.e. his sources].  But whatsoever I have added out of recent history, I have either seen myself or heard from men who can be trusted. In any case, I do not greatly value the judgement of my contemporaries either way; posterity, I trust, when love and envy are no more, if it cannot praise my style, at least will pay tribute to my industry."

Ah, William.  How nice of you not to care what your contemporaries think.  Would you have guessed, or even dreamed, that nearly a thousand years later, we would still be reading your humble work, and praising both your style and your incredible industry?


Thank you for listening. Just nod and smile, and hope the crazy woman leaves soon. 

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