The Medieval Life of King Alfred the Great: A Translation and Commentary on the Text Attributed to…

Perfect | February 9, 2002

Translated byAlfred P Smyth

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Very few King's earn the appellation 'Great'. Alfred is the only EnglishKing honoured with this name and is credited with various successes (thefoundation of a navy, English education system and religious revival). Hismemory looms large in the English Imagination.The medieval "Life" of King Alfred of Wessex purports to be written by Asser, a monk in the King's service. This account of one of England's best loved and most famous kings has been accepted as offering evidence on most aspects of life in early medieval England and beyond. It was used in Victorian times to create a 'Cult' of Alfred. Alfred Smyth offers a carefully annotated translation of the 'Life' together with a long commentary. He argues that the 'Life' is a forgery which has profound implications not only for our understanding of the early English and medieval past but also for the nature of biography and history. This close scholarly rendering of the text allows the reader access to the intricacies of medieval history.

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Very few King's earn the appellation 'Great'. Alfred is the only EnglishKing honoured with this name and is credited with various successes (thefoundation of a navy, English education system and religious revival). Hismemory looms large in the English Imagination.The medieval "Life" of King Alfred of Wessex purports to be written by As...

Alfred P. Smyth is Director of Research and Head of the Graduate School, Canterbury Christ Church University College.

other books by Alfred P Smyth

King Alfred the Great
King Alfred the Great

Hardcover|Nov 1 1995

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Format:PerfectDimensions:280 pages, 9.38 × 6.6 × 0.94 inPublished:February 9, 2002Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0333699173

ISBN - 13:9780333699171

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Table of Contents

Translation of the Life of King Alfred * Part I: A Tour Around the Manuscripts * The Importance of the Life of King Alfred * Manuscripts of the Life * The Cottonian Manuscript * Byrhtferth's Northumbrian Chronicle * The Worcester Latin Chronicle Attributed to John (alis Florence) of Worcester * The East Anglian Chronicle (Annals of St. Neots) * The Encomium Emmae Reginae * The Ramsey Annals * The Life of St. Neot * Summing Up the Manuscript Evidence * The 1574 Parker Edition of the Life of King Alfred * The Task of the Historian * Part II: The Author of the Life * Unique Information on King Alfred Which Is Provided by the Author * Problems Presented by the Life in Relation to What We Know Independently of King Alfred's Career * The Author's Claim to Being a Contemporary Witness * Who Was the Historical Asser? * What the Author Tells Us of Himself * The Welsh Dimension in the Life of King Alfred * Part III: The Author's Latin Style * Part IV: The Author's Use of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle * A Framework for the Life * The Author's Miscalculation of King Alfred's Age * Errors in the Author's Treatment of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle * Other Errors and Inconsistencies in the Author's Text * Part V: Why Was the Life of King Alfred Written at Ramsey in C.A.D. 1000?

Editorial Reviews

...this translation...is useful for presenting a version without many of the previous editorial emendations...
-Choice