Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Writing History for the King: Henry II and…

Writing History for the King: Henry II and the Politics of Vernacular…

by Charity Urbanski

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations
Recently added bysallyandbob, jwmccormack



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

No reviews
This book contributes to the growing body of scholarship exploring the agendas and approaches of those innovative twelfth-century vernacular chroniclers who wrote compelling histories in Old French that offered persuasive lessons for their contemporary readers. Charity Urbanksi's aim here is to understand how two such works, Wace's Roman de Rou and Benoît de Sainte-Maure's Chronique des ducs de Normandie, took up this challenge with the added spur that their patron (and possibly their most demanding reader) was Henry II himself, seeking an account of his Norman ancestors. The central proposition of the book is that Wace chose not to satisfy the requirements of a royal commission to recount the king's family history in a manner which suited Henry's needs (given the challenges of his rise to power and his reign), whereas Benoît (as Wace's successor in the role) cleaved closely to a partisan, celebratory approach
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0801451310, Hardcover)

Writing History for the King is at once a reassessment of the reign of Henry II of England (1133–1189) and an original contribution to our understanding of the rise of vernacular historiography in the high Middle Ages. Charity Urbanski focuses on two dynastic histories commissioned by Henry: Wace's Roman de Rou (c. 1160–1174) and Benoît de Sainte-Maure’s Chronique des ducs de Normandie (c. 1174–1189). In both cases, Henry adopted the new genre of vernacular historical writing in Old French verse in an effort to disseminate a royalist version of the past that would help secure a grip on power for himself and his children. Wace was the first to be commissioned, but in 1174 the king abruptly fired him, turning the task over to Benoît de Sainte-Maure.

Urbanski examines these histories as part of a single enterprise intended to cement the king’s authority by enhancing the prestige of Henry II’s dynasty. In a close reading of Wace’s Rou, she shows that it presented a less than flattering picture of Henry’s predecessors, in effect challenging his policies and casting a shadow over the legitimacy of his rule. Benoît de Sainte-Maure’s Chronique, in contrast, mounted a staunchly royalist defense of Anglo-Norman kingship. Urbanski reads both works in the context of Henry’s reign, arguing that as part of his drive to curb baronial power he sought a history that would memorialize his dynasty and solidify its claim to England and Normandy.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:44 -0400)

No library descriptions found.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio

Popular covers


Average: No ratings.

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 119,992,521 books! | Top bar: Always visible