The most popular biography of St. Edward the Confessor.
Aelred of Rievaulx’s Vita sancti Ædwardi Regis et Confessoris was written on request of Laurence, abbot of Westminster, soon after the canonization of King Edward in 1161, and was presented to King Henry II on the occasion of the translation of the body of the saint on the 13th of October 1163. Preceded by a biography written by an anonymous author for Edward’s wife, Queen Edith, and by the clearly hagiographical biography written by the prior of Westminster, Osbert of Clare, in 1138, Aelred’s Vita enriched the hagiographical dossier of the saint with new miraculous episodes and was also endowed with strong political messages. It soon became the official biography of the saint and its fortune is witnessed not only by the number of manuscripts that contain the text, but also by the fact that all the successive biographies of the saint were directly or indirectly dependent on it.
This first critical edition of the Vita
provides a text based on the best manuscript witnesses together with the editio princeps
of a versification of the Vita
written by an anonymous poet few years later.
Francesco Marzella obtained his PhD from the Istituto Italiano di Scienze Umane (SUM, Florence) and was postdoctoral fellow at Università degli Studi dell’Aquila. His main research field is Anglo-Latin Literature (12th and 13th century).