Robert Wace c. 1090-1110-c. 1175
French poet and chronicler.
Wace's verse chronicle, Le Roman de Brut (1155), based on Geoffrey of Monmouth's Latin Historia Regum Britanniae [History of the Kings of Britain] (1138), provides an account of both actual and legendary English history. It is the first fully developed text in a vernacular language of the story of King Arthur, and the first work to mention the Round Table and the legend of Arthur's possible immortality. Wace's narrative skill, talent for expressing the feelings and thoughts of his characters, and vivid descriptions of their dramatic interactions contributed to the flourishing not only of historiography, but also of the romance genre in Europe.
The exact year of Wace's birth is not known, although scholars surmise it was between 1090 and 1110. He was born into a family of German ancestry on Jersey, the largest of the English Channel islands, then under the control of the Norman French. Scholars conjecture that his father was a shipbuilder who may have helped build the fleet for the Norman invasion of Britain in 1066. Wace was first educated in Caen and later in Paris. King Henry II of England appointed Wace canon at Bayeux and also his chronicler of British and Norman history. After finishing the Roman de Brut in 1155, which he dedicated to Eleanor of Aquitaine (Henry's Queen), Wace began Le Roman de Rou, a chronicle of the Dukes of Normandy commissioned by King Henry. This work is of particular interest to scholars for the few autobiographical details it contains. Wace abandoned writing the Roman de Rou in 1174, and he is believed to have died around 1175.
All of Wace's works were written in the Old North French language. His earliest writings focused on religious subjects: La Conception Nostre Dame (1130-40) is an account of the birth of the Virgin Mary, and La Vie de Sainte Margarite (1135) and La Vie de San Nicholas (1150) are traditional lives of the saints, characterized by Wace's lifelong interest in philosophy and symbolic order. Le Roman de Brut provides a history of the kings of England, but in it Wace also reshapes Geoffrey's earlier chronicle, adding greater emphasis on philosophical ideas and further developing the legend of King Arthur and his court. Some major differences between Wace's treatment of Arthur and that of Geoffrey include Wace's refusal to translate Merlin's prophecies about the eventual return of Arthur after his death, his symbolic treatment of the Round Table, and his remaking of Arthur into a more courteous and humane leader. King Henry II explicitly commissioned Wace to write Le Roman de Rou to justify Norman rule in England, but he withdrew his financial support in 1174—presumably because he felt that Wace's text was not sufficiently sympathetic to the Norman cause—and Wace never finished the work.
Wace's Roman de Brut is by far his best-known work; it enjoyed popularity in its own time, exerted much influence on other writers, and was widely imitated through the fourteenth century. Modern scholars such as Frances Lytle Gillespy, Margaret Houck, and P. B. Grout, among others, have concentrated on comparisons between Wace's work and Geoffrey's history, as well as with other versions of the subject such as Layamon's Brut, the Munich Brut, and the works of Chretien de Troyes. Jeff Rider and other critics have also explored Wace's presentation of history, his treatment of the figures of King Arthur and Merlin, and his figuration of women in the text. In the late twentieth century such scholars as Leger Brosnahan and Gerald F. Carr have paid increasing attention to Wace's style in the Le Roman de Brut, heeding Houck's caveat that Wace is “first of all a story teller.” Sara Sturm-Maddox, among other critics, has analyzed the influence of Wace's works on later writers, particularly on Chretien de Troyes. In addition, Wace and his works are highly valued by social historians and linguists for what they reveal about he interplay between French and English language and culture in the twelfth century.
La Conception Nostre Dame (chronicle) 1130-40
La Vie de Sainte Margarite (biography) c. 1135
La Vie de San Nicholas (biography) 1150
Le Roman de Brut (chronicle) 1155
Le Roman de Rou et des Duc de Normandie (history) 1174
Master Wace: His Chronicle of the Norman Conquest (edited by Edgar Taylor) 1837
Le Roman de Brut (edited by Eugene Mason in Arthurian Chronicles) 1962
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SOURCE: Gillespy, Frances Lytle. “The Narrative Art of Layamon's Brut and a Comparison with Wace's Brut.” University of California Publications in Modern Philology 3, no. 4 (November 24, 1916): 378-96.
[In the following essay, Gillespy compares Wace's Brut with Layamon's and argues that Layamon's descriptions of time and place are richer and more artful.]
The supposedly historical character of the work governs, to a large extent, the use of time-settings in both writers. Wace, following Geoffrey in the main, makes frequent statements as to the duration of reigns and events within reigns, and Layamon in his turn takes Wace as his model for the time skeleton of his work. He dates, however, more frequently and in more exact terms than does Wace,1 and he goes far beyond the French writer in the description of attendant circumstance. He occasionally describes wintry weather.2 Now and then he tells of a pleasant day when the sun is “swiðe briht.”3 At times he adds a circumstance indicative of direct observation, as in the statement that Lent came and the days began to lengthen (30627). The coming of the dawn is usually mentioned with some slight picturesque touch—“the third day it dawned fair” (21853 f) and more vividly “shields glistened there, light began to dawn” (21725 f) and again “It dawned...
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SOURCE: Houck, Margaret. “Wace's Individuality and Narrative Technique.” In Sources of the “Roman de Brut” of Wace. University of California Publications in English. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1941, pp. 167-95.
[In the following essay, written in 1938, Houck examines the techniques through which Wace transforms Geoffrey of Monmouth's narrative history into a stylized work approaching fiction.]
Most of the alterations made by Wace in Geoffrey's narrative have their source in his characteristic technique of storytelling and his poetic individuality; that is, in his style as a narrative poet. His style manifests itself chiefly in his development of dramatic settings for events, in his use of various devices to give an effect of lively action, in his tendency to enter sympathetically into the situation he is presenting, in his frequent additions of realistic circumstances not mentioned by Geoffrey, in his expression of certain characteristic sentiments, and in the technique of his verse.1
Wace's account of Uther's feast at which he became enamored of Ygerne is an excellent example of the poet's use of detailed background for a scene. Geoffrey merely mentions (VIII. xix. 423) that Uther gave a feast at which he took notice of Ygerne by sending her messages and presents, until at last Gorlois, angered, left the table. Wace evidently felt that a proper stage...
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SOURCE: Bell, Alexander. “The Royal Brut Interpolation.” Medium Aevum XXXII, no. 3 (1963): 190-202.
[In the following essay, Bell suggests that a manuscript of Wace's history of England, the Roman de Brut, called the Royal Brut contains an interpolation of some six thousand lines not written by Wace.]
Although the item commencing on f. 40v of B.M. Royal 13 A xxi is introduced by the rubric:
Ci commence le brut ke maistre / Wace translata de latin en / franceis de tuz les reis ke / furent [en] bretaigne deske il / perdi son nun e fust apelé / engletere par la grant destruci / un ke daneis firent en la / terre,
it has long been known that from l. 52 onwards another translation of the Historia Regum Britannicæ has been substituted which continues for some six thousand lines, when the text of Wace's poem is taken up again. Already in his edition of the Roman de Brut (lxxii-iv), Le Roux de Lincy had noted the divergence and had printed a short specimen extract. Subsequently, in his Catalogue of Romances (I 264-5), H. D. L. Ward repeated this information and later still R. Imelmann in his Laȝamon: ein Versuch (Berlin, 1906) used this version, which he regarded as in some way representative of Gaimar's lost Estoire des Bretuns, to support his claim that a conflation...
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SOURCE: Brosnahan, Leger. “Wace's Use of Proverbs.” Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies XXXIX, no. 3 (July 1964): 444-50.
[In the following essay, Brosnahan outlines Wace's use of proverbs and explores the narrative, literary, and dramatic functions they serve in his work.]
Pvr remembrer des ancesurs Les feiz e les diz e les murs.
The primary intention of this study is simply to add Wace to the relatively short list of individual mediaeval authors whose uses of proverbial materials have been closely examined.1 For the student of mediaeval proverbs the collection contains a thorough culling and classification of the various types of proverbial expressions found in Wace's five known works.2 In addition, the collection offers clear indication of the frequency of occurrence of individual expressions, information necessarily lacking in formal, single-entry lists of proverbs and in frame poems of the Solomon-Marcoul or vilain dit type. The literary historian and student of mediaeval rhetoric may also find here additional detailed material useful for comparative studies of the use of proverbial expressions as a literary device.
Among the mediaeval writers whose uses of proverbial materials have been closely studied, Wace is, not surprisingly, neither the first nor the last, in either quantity or quality, in his use of these materials. Though...
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SOURCE: Sayers. William. “Rummaret de Wenelande: A Geographical Note to Wace's Brut.” Romance Philology XVIII, no. 1 (August 1964): 46-53.
[In the following essay, Sayers speculates on the existence and geographical location of Wenelande, a place Wace describes in the Roman de Brut.]
While Wace develops the scenic, picturesque, and psychological possibilities of Geoffrey's Historia Regum Britanniae, students of the Roman de Brut are agreed that he remains in general faithful to his source as regards the events recounted and the names of places and people. The few innovations in the latter domain are of special interest in view of Wace's recognized conscientiousness as translator-historian.
The Brut introduces two figures absent in Geoffrey: the prophet Taliessin, who announces the birth of Christ,1 and King Rummaret of Wenelande. Taliessin has been the object of numerous commentaries;2 Wace's debt to “Nennius” or to Geoffrey's Vita Merlini for the name and the parallel with the medieval interpretation of Virgil as a prophet have been established. Rummaret still presents a problem.
The character appears at only one point in the roman, during Arthur's naval expedition:
Quant Arthur out cunquis Irlande, Trespassez est jesqu'en Islande; La terre prist tute e cunquist E a sei tute la...
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SOURCE: Carr, Gerald F. “The Prologue to Wace's Vie de Saint Nicholas: A Structural Analysis.” Philological Quarterly XLVII, no. 1 (January 1968): 1-7.
[In the following essay, Carr demonstrates the numerological basis for the structure of Wace's Vie de Saint Nicholas.]
The latent structural qualities of medieval poetry were first brought forcefully to the attention of scholars by Ernst Robert Curtius.1 Although by no means the first critic to recognize the architectonic features of medieval poetry, Curtius in his essay on “Zahlensymbolik” (Exkurs XV) gave renewed impetus to the investigation of the interrelationships of number, literary form and symbolism. Certainly interest in the quality of numbers has not been lacking, but it is only in relatively recent years that serious scholarly attention has been devoted to the phenomenon of number as it manifests itself in medieval literature.2 Literary scholars have had an understandable aversion to the confused and confounded attempts of investigators to superimpose preconceived numerical plans upon literary works, or to derive symbolical meanings from “significant” numbers, once they have been ascertained in a literary document. Nonetheless, since Curtius first provided wide dissemination to the concept of poetry structured according to “architektonische Proportionsgesetze,” a great deal of sound scholarship has...
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SOURCE: Box, J. B. H., and A. D. Deyermond. “Mestre Baqua and the Grail Story.” Revue de Litérature Comparée 51, no. 3 (July-September 1977): 366-70.
[In the following essay, Box and Deyermond argue that there are references to Wace's work in the medieval Portuguese Arthurian poem Livro de Josep Abarimatia.]
The Portuguese Livro de Josep Abarimatia, like other Hispanic Arthurian romances, is rich in cross-references to other parts of the Post-Vulgate Arthurian cycle1. This feature is both well known and entirely natural: the interlace structure of most such romances2 makes a good deal of cross-referencing necessary, and the compilation of a cycle of texts increases the necessity. Most of the references are taken over from the French originals of the Hispanic works, but some are apparently inserted by the writer—generally believed to be Juan or João Bivas—who first adapted the Roman du Graal into a Hispanic language; other references seem to be the work of the authors of the extant Castilian and Portuguese romances. Such references to parts of the Post-Vulgate are accompanied by mentions of other works, and though these are fewer in number, they are of considerable interest. Again, many are to be found in the French originals, but some are not. We deal here with one which may well have been significantly amplified in the Livro de Josep Abarimatia....
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SOURCE: York, Ernest C. “Wace's Wenelande: Identification and Speculation.” Romance Notes XXII, no. 1 (fall 1981): 112-18.
[In the following essay, York attempts to identify the country Wace calls Wenelande in Le Roman de Brut.]
When Wace wrote his account of Arthur's Scandinavian conquest, he added Rummaret of Wenelande to Geoffrey's list of kings and kingdoms that submitted to Arthur.1 Ever since Le Roux de Lincy published his edition of Le Roman de Brut (1836-38), scholars have tried to solve the questions raised by these names: where Wace got them, who Rummaret is, and what country he meant by Wenelande. In 1941 Margaret Houck concluded from her study of Wace's sources that Wace derived the names from oral tradition, and this theory has been repeated without further addition through succeeding years.2 Rummaret remains a nebulous figure, but with him this study is not concerned.
The identification of Wenelande has received wider attention. The name was picked up from Wace by Layamon, Robert Mannyng, and a few other adaptors, but their accounts give no clue as to the identification. There is one account of Arthur's Northern conquest, however, which can help to identify Wenelande. This is a pseudo-historical passage inserted in the Leges Edwardi Confessoris, an account which has gone without comment by students...
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SOURCE: Sturm-Maddox, Sara. “‘Tenir sa terre en pais’: Social Order in the Brut and the Conte del Graal.” Studies in Philology LXXXI, no. 1 (winter 1984): 28-41.
[In the following essay, Sturm-Maddox argues that Chretien de Troyes' reading of Wace's Brut influenced his elevation of social concerns over individual chivalric values in his version of the grail story.]
In the wake of recent demonstrations that the traditional criteria of veracity versus fictionality are not universally pertinent to the classification of medieval narrative,1 the question of generic differentiation acquires new prominence. The conventional distinction, of course, has its twelfth-century antecedent in Jehan Bodel's often-cited enumeration of three matières:
N'en sont que trois materes à nul home entendant: De France et de Bretaigne et de Rome la Grant; Ne de ces trois materes n'i à nule samblant. Li conte de Bretaigne s'il sont vain et plaisant Et cil de Romme sage et de sens aprendant, Cil de France sont voir chascun jour aparant.(2)
Such designations, however, are themselves a matter of reception—“à nul home entendant”—and their relevance assumes a complicity between writer and public in terms of what constitutes “historicity” in its relation to “truth.” For twelfth-century narrative, a particularly apt case in point is...
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SOURCE: Blacker-Knight, Jean. “Wace's Craft and His Audience: Historical Truth, Bias, and Patronage in the Roman de Rou.” Kentucky Romance Quarterly 31, no. 4 (1984): 355-62.
[In the following essay, Blacker-Knight argues that Henry II was displeased with the Roman de Rou because in it Wace's loyalty was to recounting history as he understood it rather than to slanting his narrative in the King's favor.]
Wace's Roman de Rou, although not written in the Anglo-Norman dialect, was directed to an audience closely connected with the far-reaching Anglo-Norman regnum.1 Written by a Norman cleric for Henry Plantagenet, king of England, duke of Normandy, and count of Anjou, the Rou was intended to be read at Henry's court, whether the king were in England or Normandy. It was meant to appeal to the Anglo-Norman aristocracy, eager to learn of its Norman ancestors and their dealings with the English, the Bretons, the Angevines, and the French. However, if we are to judge from some of Wace's editorial comments in the Rou and from the relatively small number of extant manuscripts, it would appear as if the contemporary audience did not receive the work favorably.2
Even though we will never be able to know with certainty the identity of the individuals gathered at the king's court at any particular time, we can gain insight into the...
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SOURCE: Blakeslee, Merritt R. “The Authorship of Thomas's Tristan.” Philological Quarterly 64, no. 4 (fall 1985): 555-72.
[In the following essay, Blakeslee argues that the imitation of Wace's Roman de Brut evident throughout the twelfth-century Tristan attributed to Thomas supports the hypothesis of Thomas's sole authorship of that poem.]
The question of dual authorship, so long a subject of controversy among scholars of Beroul's Tristran, has latterly been raised in regard to Thomas's Tristan. A recent article by Constance B. Bouchard has suggested that the manuscript fragments traditionally ascribed to Thomas of Britain and assumed to have been composed in the second half of the twelfth century are instead the work of an early thirteenth-century author who is not the Thomas or Tumas referred to in those fragments.1 The study hypothesizes that the original Tristan, composed by Thomas (or perhaps by a pseudo-Thomas), was left unfinished and that a continuer was responsible for the composition of the extant fragments of the romance (excepting the Cambridge fragment, which is probably the work of Thomas or pseudo-Thomas). This provocative article shows a refreshing tendency to challenge many of the traditional but unprovable assumptions on which modern Tristan scholarship rests, and it is instructive to measure our received ideas about Thomas's...
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SOURCE: Grout, P. B. “The Author of the Munich Brut, His Latin Sources, and Wace.” Medium Aevum LIV, no. 2 (1985): 274-82.
[In the following essay, Grout compares two versions of Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain, the anonymous Munich Brut, and Wace's Brut, especially with regard to their treatment of the story of King Leir.]
It is generally known that in addition to the more famous Brut by Wace, the Historia Regum Britanniae of Geoffrey of Monmouth gave rise to a number of verse translations, of which some fragments and some longer versions are still extant.1 Of the longer versions, the Munich Brut (so called because the single MS is to be found in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich), first published in its entirety by Hofmann and Vollmöller in 1877,2 aroused some interest over the following sixty years for two particular reasons: philologists wished to examine the dialect,3 and literary critics wondered if the Munich Brut might be the lost part of Gaimar's chronicle.4 On both these matters a satisfactory solution was put forward by A. Bell, who stated that ‘there seems little doubt that the MS is Walloon in character’, and concluded that the author of the Munich Brut and Gaimar were not one and the same person.5 Dr Bell's conclusions have been...
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SOURCE: Shichtman, Martin B. “Gawain in Wace and Laȝamon: A Case of Metahistorical Evolution.” In Medieval Texts and Contemporary Readers, pp. 103-19. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1987.
[In the following essay, Shichtman contrasts the way Wace and Layamon portray Sir Gawain and narrate his history, and argues that the difference in their approaches is the result of their disimilarities in class, location, and historical perspective.]
Among historians who see the ultimate goal of historical discourse as the conveyance of “truth,” historical writings of the Middle Ages have been often found suspect, even ignored, because of their tendency toward literariness.1 Contemporary historiographical theory argues, however, that the search for objective historical truth is a delusion. Historical writing is, it suggests, subject to the same forces that give form to all narrative. This position, with its insistence that, in Hayden White's words, “historical inquiry is born less of the necessity to establish that certain events occurred than of the desire to determine what certain events might mean for a given group, society, or culture's conception of its present tasks and future prospects,” presents a context for a reevaluation of the histories produced during the Middle Ages.2
Many medieval historians seem to have been aware of, and...
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SOURCE: Rider, Jeff. “The Fictional Margin: The Merlin of the Brut.” Modern Philology, 87, no. 1 (August 1989): 1-12.
[In the following essay, Rider contrasts the treatment of Merlin in Wace's and Layamon's versions of Le Roman de Brut.]
Wace's Roman de Brut and Layamon's adaptation of it have been closely compared a number of times, and “canonical” characterizations of the two texts and the two poets were established as early as 1906. Wace was quintessentially Norman, a professional writer who enjoyed royal patronage. Layamon was “a thorough mediæval Saxon,” a rustic priest who wrote to please himself, perhaps out of a sense of patriotism.1
Layamon's thorough, even militant, “Englishness” has long been observed in his textual practice—his language, poetic form, and figures—and in his imaginative reworking of certain characters and episodes.2 Dorothy Everett and E. G. Stanley have also explained how a militant Anglo-Saxon could have moral and political reasons for choosing to translate a Norman, anti-Anglo-Saxon poem.3 What has not been done, and what I would like to do here, is to show that the moral and political motives which led Layamon to choose to rewrite Wace's poem in an archaic English idiom also oriented him toward the poetic material in a way fundamentally different from Wace. Layamon's new orientation toward...
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SOURCE: Noble, Peter. “Wace and Renaut de Beaujeu.” French Studies, XLVII, no. 1 (January 1993): 1-5.
[In the following essay, Noble argues for Wace's influence on Renaut de Beaujeu's romance Le Bel Inconnu.]
Critics are generally agreed that Renaut de Beaujeu had an excellent knowledge of his predecessors and drew quite heavily on some of them in Le Bel Inconnu. Madeleine Tyssens, for example, twice underlines the enormous debt which Renaut owes to Chrétien. She comments that ‘Renaut a donc pillé toute l'œuvre de Chrétien’1 and argues later in the same article that there is no need to look elsewhere for the sources of Renaut's imagination. ‘Dès lors, lorsque ce roman s'apparente par quelque trait à l'un des romans de Chrétien, il est sage de s'en tenir à l'explication toute simple du plagiat et de faire ainsi l'économie de quelques prototypes qui, français ou celtiques, sont avant tout imaginaires.’2 There is absolutely no reason to argue with this judgement which is abundantly proved in the article, but there is a little evidence that Renaut de Beaujeu used an even earlier source than Chrétien, namely the Roman de Brut by Wace. The Brut was certainly still known and used by subsequent authors, as Frappier showed so clearly with regard to La Mort le Roi Artu.3 Although there is nothing to suggest that Renaut used it to...
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SOURCE: Buttry, Delores. “Contempt or Empathy? Master Wace's Depiction of a Peasant Revolt.” Romance Notes, XXXVII, no. 1 (fall 1996): 31-38.
[In the following essay, Buttry argues that Wace's account of a peasant revolt shows his sympathy for their plight rather than the aristocratic disdain that has been attributed to him.]
The twelfth-century Norman writer Wace appears to have been quite conservative in his social opinions as well as in his use of language. His aristocratic birth has been assumed since at least 1880, and critics have considered his depiction in the Roman de Rou (1160-74) of the peasant revolt under Duke Richard II to be an example of aristocratic bias. Wace's description of the revolt allows for a different interpretation. His lengthy additions to the information he found in his source, William of Jumiège's Gesta Normannorum Ducum, suggest compassion for the peasants. After reviewing the circumstantial evidence for Wace's aristocratic pedigree, I will examine his portrayal of the revolt and its aftermath.
In 1880, Gaston Paris proposed an emendation to line 3225 of the third part of the Roman de Rou, where, speaking of Tosteins, the chamberlain of Robert I, he writes (in an aside): “—de par sa mere fu sis aives—” (“he was his grandfather on the maternal side”).1 The phrase is meaningless as it stands: how could the...
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SOURCE: Finke, Laurie, and Martin Shichtman. “The Mont St. Michel Giant: Sexual Violence and Imperialism in the Chronicles of Wace and Laȝamon.” In Violence against Women in Medieval Texts, edited by Anna Roberts, pp. 56-74. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1998.
[In the following essay, Finke and Shlichtman contrast the ways Wace and Layamon present rape in their narrations of the Arthurian legend.]
We could find no better means to illustrate in popular culture the ways in which sexual violence—especially rape—is generically encoded in our cultural narratives than that incredibly bad “B” science fiction film of 1968, Mars Needs Women. In this film, which Leonard Maltin calls “strangely sincere but extremely silly and distended,” Tommy Kirk plays a Martian sent along with four other Martians to collect five earth women to take back to Mars to repopulate a barren and sterile planet. What is striking about the film is the horror and absolute resistance with which earth authorities greet the Martians' request. The Martians' tactics run the gamut from seduction to out-and-out rape and abduction. They manage to convince at least one woman to return with them voluntarily; however, earth officials—particularly the military—are willing to go to any lengths (including, of course, atomic annihilation) to see that the Martians do not get even one earth woman.
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SOURCE: Anderson, Carolyn. “Narrating Matilda, ‘Lady of the English,’ in the Historia Novella, the Gesta Stephani, and Wace's Roman de Rou: The Desire for Land and Order.” Clio: A Journal of Literature, History and the Philosophy of History, 29, no. 1 (fall 1999): 47-67.
[In the following essay, Anderson considers the significance of Wace's treatment of the figure of Matilda, the mother of England's King Henry II.]
Robert Wace's Roman de Rou1 virtually omits Queen Matilda and most of the twelfth-century English civil war she fought with her cousin, Stephen of Blois. Given the text's predilection for battles and wars, Matilda's disappearance is anomalous. After all, in her own generation, she is represented as a powerful actor in texts as varied as legal documents and contemporary chronicles, which deal with the English succession dispute. In this article, I suggest that Matilda is a feminine threat to order and that contemporary misogyny in the early texts also masks the Rou's obsession with the imposition of order, which in turn actually reveals a cultural anxiety over the loss of settled claims to land.
I intend to demonstrate that Matilda does have a voice in the affairs of her time, and thereby power, in the disposition of lands, grants, and titles to her supporters. These legal texts chart her personal involvement as a ruler...
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SOURCE: Eley, Penny, and Philip E. Bennett. “The Battle of Hastings according to Gaimar, Wace, and Benoît: Rhetoric and Politics.” Nottingham Medieval Studies, XLIII (1999): 47-78
[In the following essay, Eley and Bennett compare three accounts of the Battle of Hastings, including that by Wace.]
According to Jean Blacker, the Norman Conquest was ‘the most visible cause of the upsurge in historical writing in twelfth-century England’ and in the continental territories controlled by successive Anglo-Norman and Norman-Angevin rulers.1 Her recent study of the historical writings of Gaimar, Wace, Benoît de Sainte-Maure and their Latin counterparts pays little attention, however, to the narration of the Conquest itself, focusing instead on the authors' conception of the role of the historian, techniques of characterisation, and the relationship between writer and patron. Given the importance of the events of 1066 in providing the impetus for Anglo-Norman historiography, it is interesting to consider in more detail how those events are mediated by texts commissioned to make the history of England and the Normans available to a vernacular audience. Our aim here is not to attempt to establish any more facts about the historical event, nor even, in a historian's sense, to add to interpretations of the battle. It is rather to explore the literary approaches adopted by three vernacular writers...
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Chamberlain, David. “Marie de France's Arthurian Lai: Subtle and Political.” In Culture and the King: The Social Implications of Arthurian Legend: Essays in Honor of Valerie M. Lagorio, edited by Martin B. Shichtman and James P. Carley, pp. 15-34. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994.
Analyzes the importance of Wace's contribution to Marie de France's critical portrait of King Arthur.
Keller, Hans E. “Two Toponymical Problems in Geoffrey of Monmouth and Wace: Estrusia and Siesia.” Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies XLIX, no. 4 (October 1974): 687-98.
Scholarly study of two place names in the Brut, and in Geoffrey of Monmouth's history of Britain, their variations, origins, and significance.
Tyson, Diana B. “Patronage of French Vernacular History in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries.” Romania 100 (1979): 192-99.
examines the evidence that Henry II commissioned the Brut and the Rou from Wace.
Weiss, Judith. “Two Fragments from a Newly Discovered Manuscript of Wace's Brut.” Medium Aevum, LXVIII, no. 2 (1999): 268-77.
Offers a detailed description of a recently uncovered manuscript of Wace's Brut.
Additional coverage of Wace's life and career is contained...
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