Book Series Studies in the Early Middle Ages, vol. 16

Narrative and History in the Early Medieval West

Elizabeth M. Tyler, Ross Balzaretti (eds)

  • Pages: 268 p.
  • Size:160 x 240 mm
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2006

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-51828-2
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-53865-5
  • E-book
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The essays within this highly interdisciplinary volume explore the nature and function of narrative in the texts that modern scholars use to study the Middle Ages


"This collection of essays from a series of conferences and meetings in 1999 is a model of interdisciplinarity." (L. Abrams in The English Historical Review, vol. cxiii. no. 503 (August 2008), p. 997)

"This book models how productive collaborative scholarship can be for disciplines typically invested in individual contributions. Their shared theoretical and methodological reflections burst traditional assumptions and resulted in provocative and innovative interpretations of medieval texts. While all medieval historians and literary scholars would benefit from the intense interdisciplinarity of this book, the volume may be particularly helpful to graduate students who could learn much from the excellent introduction, which articulates interpretative goals and pitalls, and the interpretative applications ine ach chapter." (M. Wilcox in Journal of English and Germanic Philology, July 2009, p. 399-401)

"[...] Le résultat est un modèle de réflexions interdisciplinaires sur des sources communes aux historiens et aux philologues."    (Stéphane Gioanni, dans Antiquité Tardive 18, 2010, p. 404)

"Elizabeth Tyler and Ross Balzaretti are to be congratulated in having brought together an inspiring collection of essays discussing the inseparability between narrative and history. (...) I recommend this volume as a stimulating and ground breaking collection of essays on a topic that has just begun to be researched by medievalists." (E. M. C. van Houts, in: The Medieval Review, 07.10.08)


This collection deliberately brings together work which is chronologically, geographically and generically diverse. Texts studied include traditional narrative historiography, alongside poetry, chronicles, charters, dispute settlements and hagiography. The essays range from Italy and Frankia to Scandinavia and England as they examine texts produced from the seventh to the early twelfth century. In exploring the nature and function of narrative in texts which modern scholars use to study the Middle Ages, the contributors to this interdisciplinary volume integrate social, political, intellectual and literary history. Each essay and the volume as a whole illustrate that narrative form offers both new vantage points on the Middle Ages and new opportunities for collaborative study.


Introduction - Elizabeth M. Tyler and Ross Balzaretti

Spoken Narratives in Ninth-Century Milanese Court Records - Ross Balzaretti

Reading Anglo-Saxon Charters: Memory, Record, or Story? - Sarah Foot

William of Malmesbury’s Use of Charters - Julia Barrow

Mixed Modes in Historical Narrative - Joaquín Martínez Pizarro

‘Sad stories of the death of kings’: Narrative Patterns and Structures of Authority in Regino of Prüm’s Chronicle - Stuart Airlie

Narrating the Life of Eusebius of Vercelli - Nick Everett

Ælfric’s Account of St Swithun: Literature of Reform and Reward - Elaine Treharne

Folklore and Historiography: Oral Stories and the Writing of Anglo-Saxon History - Catherine Cubitt

Poetics and the Past: Making History with Old English Poetry - Elizabeth M. Tyler

The ‘Meaning of the Narrative Moment’: Poets and History in the Late Viking Age - Judith Jesch