Medieval Death Trip

A Podcast Exploring the Wit and Weirdness of Medieval Texts

Tag: William of Malmesbury (page 1 of 2)

MDT Ep. 79: Concerning Cursed Christmas Carolers and an Unlikely Bishop

Detail of dancers from Bodleian Library MS 264 f. 51v.

This Christmas Eve episode, we return to the Gesta Regum Anglorum of William of Malmesbury, to learn hear some legends of Saxony, including some overly boisterous Christmas revelers cursed to continue their revels for a whole year without rest.

Today’s Text:

  • William of Malmesbury. Chronicle of the Kings of England. Edited by J.A. Giles, translated by John Sharpe and J.A. Giles, George Bell & Sons, 1895. Google Books.

References:

  • Hecker, J.F.C. The Epidemics of the Middle Ages. Translated by B.G. Babington, 3rd ed., Trübner & Co., 1859. Google Books.
  • McDougall, Sara. “Bastard Priests: Illegitimacy and Ordination in Medieval Europe.” Speculum, vol. 94, no. 1, Jan. 2019, pp. 138-172.
  • Thomas, Edith M. “The Christmas Dancers: A Legend of Saxony.” The Century, vol. 59, no. 2, Dec. 1899, pp. 165-173. Google Books.

Music Credit: “Venite, Benedicti” from World of Dante.

Image: detail from Bodleian Library MS 264 f. 51v.

MDT Ep. 78: Concerning the Character of William Rufus and Some Scandalous Shoes

William Rufus as drawn by Matthew Paris

This episode, we explore a character analysis of an unpopular leader, as William of Malmesbury explains how the virtues of William Rufus transformed into his greatest vices. Along the way, we also learn why pointy shoes are indicators of moral degradation.

Today’s Texts:

  • William of Malmesbury. Chronicle of the Kings of England. Edited by J.A. Giles, translated by John Sharpe and J.A. Giles, George Bell & Sons, 1895. Google Books.
  • Orderic Vitalis. The Ecclesiastical History of England and Normandy. Vol. 2. Translated by Thomas Forester, Henry G. Bohn, 1854. Google Books.

References:

  • Barlow, Frank. William Rufus. Yale English Monarchs, Yale UP, 2000. First published by Methuen London, Ltd., 1983.
  • Disraeli, Isaac. Miscellanies of Literature. Revised ed., vol 1, Baudry’s European Library, 1840. Google Books.Gransden, Antonia. Historical Writing in England. Cornell UP, 1974.
  • Jolliffe, J.E.A. Angevin Kingship. Adam and Charles Buck, 1955.
  • Schütt, Marie. “The Literary Form of William of Malmesbury’s ‘Gesta Regum.'” The English Historical Review, vol. 46, no. 182, Apr. 1931, pp. 255-260. JSTOR,https://www.jstor.org/stable/552950.
  • Shapiro, Susan C. “‘Yon Plumed Dandebrat’: Male ‘Effeminancy’ in English Satire and Criticism.” The Review of English Studies, New Series, vol. 39, no. 155, Aug. 1988, pp. 400-412. JSTORwww.jstor.org/stable/516769.

Image: William Rufus, as drawn by Matthew Paris (via Wikimedia Commons)

The Medieval Death Trip Christmas Playlist on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5EmlXCdeLV3HPmspb0I9AX?si=xLAmcPy5T-ORU_5xIvvyzg

MDT Ep. 66: Concerning a Man Consumed by Mice and Other Plagues

Detail of an illustration of the plague of mice afflicting the Philistines (1 Samuel 5) from Morgan Library MS M.638 fol. 21v (13th cent.)

We kick our 2019 with a return to narrative history, hearing about a terrible way to die and how not to profit off the deaths of others during a plague from William of Malmesbury’s Gesta Regum Anglorum, and we also look all the way back to the first book of Samuel to learn how to rid oneself of some particularly uncomfortable plagues from God. We also discover how Raiders of the Lost Ark should have ended.

Today’s Texts:

  • William of Malmesbury. Chronicle of the Kings of England. Edited by J.A. Giles, translated by John Sharpe and J.A. Giles, George Bell & Sons, 1895. Google Books.
  • Wycliffe, John and John Purvey. Wycliffe’s Bible: A Modern-Spelling Version of the 14th-Century Middle English Translation. Edited and translated by Terence P. Noble, Createspace, 2012.

References:

Image: Detail of an illustration of the plague of mice afflicting the Philistines (1 Samuel 5) from Morgan Library MS M.638 fol. 21v (13th cent.)

MDT Ep. 49: Concerning a Medieval Marley’s Ghost

Alec Guinness as Marley in Scrooge

This Christmas Eve episode, we take a look a medieval forebear of the Ghost of Jacob Marley, as well as a role-model from ancient Rome.

Today’s Texts:

  • William of Malmesbury. Chronicle of the Kings of England. Ed. J.A. Giles. Trans. John Sharpe and J.A. Giles. London: George Bell & Sons, 1895. Google Books.
  • Pliny the Younger. Letters. Translated by William Melmoth, revised by F.C.T. Bosanquet, The Harvard Classics, vol. 9, part 4, .F. Collier & Son, 1909–14. Bartleby, http://www.bartleby.com/9/4/1083.html.
  • Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol, in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas. 1843. Project Gutenberg, www.gutenberg.org/files/46/46-h/46-h.htm.

References:

  • Belsey, Catherine. “Shakespeare’s Sad Tale for Winter: Hamlet and the Tradition of Fireside Ghost Stories.” Shakespeare Quarterly, vol. 61, no. 1, Spring 2010, pp. 1-27. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/40731136.
  • Bennett, Gillian. “‘Alas, Poor Ghost!’ Case Studies in the History of Ghosts and Visitations.” Chapter 5. Alas Poor Ghost, UP of of Colorado and Utah State UP, 1999, pp. 139-172. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt46nwwn.8.
  • Rife, J. Merle. “Marley’s Ghost in Athens.” The Classical Journal, vol. 34, no. 1, Oct. 1938, pp. 42-43. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3291010.

Image: Alec Guinness as Jacob Marley in Scrooge (1970), as stylized by Google Deep Dream.

MDT Ep. 48: Concerning the Sharp Wit, Unorthodox Wisdom, & Brutal Death of John the Scot

This episode as school breaks for the holidays, we look at one account of the life of translator, philosopher, and part-time court comedian John Scotus Eriugena, who allegedly met a rather bad end at the hands of disgruntled students.

Today’s Texts:

  • Roger de Hoveden. Annals of Roger de Hoveden. Translated by Henry T. Riley, vol. 1, H.G. Bohn, 1853. Google Books.
  • Jacobus de Voragine. The Golden Legend, or Lives of the Saints. Translated by William Caxton, edited by F.S. Ellis, J.M. Dent, 1900. Google Books.

References:

  • Carabine, Deirdre. John Scottus Eriugena. Oxford UP, 2000.
  • Dionysius the Areopagite. The Works of Dionysius the Areopagite. Translated by John Parker, James Parker and Co., 1897. Google Books.
  • Nerney, Denis S. “Iohannes Scottus Eriugena.” Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review, vol. 24, no. 95, Sept. 1935, pp. 415-432. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/30097229.

Image: 17th-century etching of the martyrdom of St. Cassian of Imola by Jan Luyken (Wikipedia).

MDT Episode 27: Concerning Another Take on the Love of Edgar and Aelfthryth

On this episode, get a different version of the story of Edgar’s love for the married Aelfthryth, this time in a blending of history with courtly romance from Gaimar’s L’Estoire des Engleis.

Today’s Text:

  • Gaimar. Gaimar. In The Church Historians of England. Vol. 2, Part 2. Ed. and Trans. Joseph Stevenson. London: Seeleys, 1854. [Available through Google Books.]
  • William of Malmesbury. Chronicle of the Kings of England. Ed. J.A. Giles. Trans. John Sharpe and J.A. Giles. London: George Bell & Sons, 1895. [Available at Google Books.]
  • Bartholomaeus Anglicus. De proprietatibus rerum. Ed. Robert Steele. Trans. John Trevisa. At The Medieval Bestiary.

References:

  • Gransden, Antonia. Historical Writing in England. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1974.
  • Bell, A. “Gaimar and the Edgar-Ælfðryð Story.” Modern Language Review 21.3 (July 1926): 278-287.
  • Bell, Alexander. “Gaimar as Pioneer.” Romania 97 (1976): 462-80.
  • Press, A.R. “The Precocious Courtesy of Geoffrey Gaimar.” Court and Poet. Ed. Glyn S. Burgess. Liverpool: Francis Cairns, 1981. 267-276.

 

Image: Museum Meermanno, MMW, 10 B 25, Folio 37r (via The Medieval Bestiary)

Museum Meermanno, MMW, 10 B 25, Folio 37r

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