About this item
The Gesta Romanorum, compiled in the late 13th or early 14th century, is one of the primary sources of western European literature. It is an anonymous collection of tales written in Latin, and drawn from a wide variety of sources mythology, legend, classical narratives, chronicles, Eastern allegorical stories so the title ("Deeds of the Romans") is misleading, as only some of the stories concern the Romans. These tales were used by preachers to inculcate the Christian virtues and explain theological doctrine, and the moralizations (allegorical interpretations) that follow them repeatedly emphasize the need for repentance, confession, and penance as the threefold way to salvation. The Gesta were immensely popular in their day, as the large number of manuscripts and printed editions attest, and had a huge influence on subsequent literature. The tales served as models for works by e.g. Boccaccio, Chaucer, Gower, Hoccleve and Shakespeare, as well as more modern writers such as George Bernard Shaw and Thomas Mann. Some of the Gesta were translated into English c.1510 by or for Wynkyn de Worde; then in 1521 a French translation appeared, Le Violier des Histoires Romaines. The first full English translation was produced by the Revd Charles Swan in 1824, but it amounted to little more than a bowdlerization, and the moralizations were treated in cavalier fashion. Here for the first time is a faithful English translation of the 180 canonical tales and moralizations printed in Hermann Österley's 1872 edition, with full introduction, bibliography and notes.
Number of Pages: 502
Genre: Literary Criticism, Literary Collections, History
Series Title: Manchester Medieval Literature and Culture
Publisher: Manchester Univ Pr
Street Date: January 1, 2016
Item Number (DPCI): 248-42-7528
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