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.
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.
A Note on Translations List of Figures Abbreviations Contributors
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.