A Companion to Geoffrey of Monmouth


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A Companion to Geoffrey of Monmouth brings together scholars from a range of disciplines to provide an updated scholarly introduction to all aspects of his work. Arguably the most influential secular writer of medieval Britain, Geoffrey (d. 1154) popularized Arthurian literature and left an indelible mark on European romance, history, and genealogy. Despite this outsized influence, Geoffrey’s own life, background, and motivations are little understood. The volume situates his life and works within their immediate historical context, and frames them within current critical discussion across the humanities. By necessity, this volume concentrates primarily on Geoffrey’s own life and times, with the reception of his works covered by a series of short encyclopaedic overviews, organized by language, that serve as guides to further reading.

Contributors are Jean Blacker, Elizabeth Bryan, Thomas H. Crofts, Siân Echard, Fabrizio De Falco, Michael Faletra, Ben Guy, Santiago Gutiérrez García, Nahir I. Otaño Gracia, Paloma Gracia, Georgia Henley, David F. Johnson, Owain Wyn Jones, Maud Burnett McInerney, Françoise Le Saux, Barry Lewis, Coral Lumbley, Simon Meecham-Jones, Paul Russell, Victoria Shirley, Joshua Byron Smith, Jaakko Tahkokallio, Hélène Tétrel, Rebecca Thomas, Fiona Tolhurst.
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Georgia Henley, Ph.D. (2017), Harvard University, is an assistant professor of English at Saint Anselm College and senior fellow in the Andrew W.Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography at the Rare Book School. She has published articles in The Journal of Medieval Latin and Arthurian Literature and has co-edited Gerald of Wales: New Perspectives on a Medieval Writer and Critic (University of Wales Press, 2018) and The Chronicles of Medieval Wales and the March: New Contexts, Studies and Texts (Brepols, 2020).

Joshua Byron Smith, Ph.D. (2011), Northwestern University, is an associate professor of English at the University of Arkansas, where he is also the director of the Medieval and Renaissance Studies program. He is the author of Walter Map and the Matter of Britain (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017), and is a senior fellow in Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography at the Rare Book School.
"Georgia Henley and Joshua Byron Smith’s Companion to Geoffrey of Monmouth presents a very welcome addition to scholarship on a significant figure in Insular, and wider European, literature and history. The collection brings together both longstanding and new scholarship on Geoffrey’s work, situated in medieval multilingual and cross-border contexts, highlighting, alongside established lines of enquiry, important new areas in which I hope we will continue to see future developments. [...] the Companion encompasses a universe of scholarship, and [...] presents a rich resource. A comprehensive state of the field of immense value to a graduate, and a sophisticated undergraduate, student audience, it is also essential reading for scholars engaged with advanced work on Geoffrey of Monmouth and his legacy, which will leave you full of ideas of what we might do with Geoffrey next." Victoria Flood, in The Medieval Review, 22.06.18. See the full review here.
A Note on Translations
List of Figures

Introduction and Biography
Joshua Byron Smith

Part 1: Sources

1 Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Welsh Sources
Ben Guy

2 Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Classical and Biblical Inheritance
Paul Russell

3 Geoffrey of Monmouth and the English Past
Rebecca Thomas

4 Riddling Words: the Prophetiae Merlini
Maud Burnett McInerney

Part 2: Contemporary Contexts

5 Early Manuscript Dissemination
Jaakko Tahkokallio

6 Early Reactions to Geoffrey’s Work
Simon Meecham-Jones

7 The Latin Reception of the De gestis Britonum
Siân Echard

8 Geoffrey of Monmouth’s De gestis Britonum and Twelfth-Century Romance
Françoise Le Saux

9 The Most Excellent Princes: Geoffrey of Monmouth and Medieval Welsh Historical Writing
Owain Wyn Jones

10 Geoffrey of Monmouth and the Conventions of History Writing in Early 12th-Century England
Georgia Henley

Part 3: Approaches

11 Colonial Preoccupations in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s De gestis Britonum
Michael Faletra

12 Geoffrey and Gender: the Works of Geoffrey of Monmouth as Medieval “Feminism”
Fiona Tolhurst

13 Geoffrey of Monmouth and Race
Coral Lumbley

14 Religion and the Church in Geoffrey of Monmouth
Barry Lewis

Part 4: Reception

15 Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Byzantine Reception
Thomas H. Crofts

16 The De gestis Britonum in Castile
Paloma Gracia

17 The Reception of Geoffrey of Monmouth in the Crown of Aragon
Nahir I. Otaño Gracia

18 The Middle Dutch Reception of Geoffrey of Monmouth
David F. Johnson

19 The English Reception of Geoffrey of Monmouth
Elizabeth Bryan

20 The Anglo-Norman and Continental French Reception of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Corpus from the 12th to the 15th Centuries
Jean Blacker

21 The German Reception of Geoffrey of Monmouth
Joshua Byron Smith

22 The Old Icelandic “Brut”
Hélène Tétrel

23 The Reception of Geoffrey of Monmouth in Ireland
Joshua Byron Smith

24 The Reception of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Work in Italy
Fabrizio De Falco

25 Geoffrey of Monmouth in Portugal and Galicia
Santiago Gutiérrez García

26 The Scottish Reception of Geoffrey of Monmouth
Victoria Shirley

27 The Reception of Geoffrey of Monmouth in Wales
Ben Guy

A Companion to Geoffrey of Monmouth should appeal to anyone with an interest in Arthurian literature, Celtic studies, and medieval history.
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