Walter Map Criticism - Essay

Thomas Wright (essay date 1841)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: An introduction to The Latin Poems Commonly Attributed to Walter Mapes, edited by Arthur Wright, AMS Press, 1841, pp. v-xxviii.

[In the following essay, Wright introduces a collection of poems in Latin which he has grouped under Map's name. He asserts that, while they probably do not belong to Map, they either conform to the style of Map's known works, or they have been attributed to Map or to his supposed pseudonym, "Golias. "]

The great popular movements in England during the end of the twelfth and the earlier half of the thirteenth centuries, gave rise to a numerous class of Latin poems of a very peculiar character, remarkable chiefly for pungency of satire,...

(The entire section is 5035 words.)

Arthur W. Colton (essay date 1893)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "The First English Essayist: Walter Map," Poet-Lore, Vol. V, No. 11, November, 1893, pp. 537-50.

[In the following essay, Colton examines several of Map's writings and remarks on the uncertain or "shadowy" connection that can be drawn between Map and the essays he may or may not have written. He concludes that this uncertainty is appropriate since Map considered his own life as a courtier a vain and shadowy one.]

Since the publications of the Camden Society in 1850 and 1851, the name of Walter Map has been tolerably familiar to students of literature, and the De Nugis Curialium has taken a certain rank among historical documents. The Reports of the...

(The entire section is 5618 words.)

Montague Rhodes James (essay date 1914)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: A Preface to De Nugis Curialium, by Walter Map, edited by Montague Rhodes James, Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1914, pp. v-xxxix.

[In the following excerpt from the introduction to his Latin transcription of De Nugis Curialium, James describes the physical condition of the manuscript from which he is working; discusses the errors made by an earlier transcriber (Thomas Wright); explains his own methods of transcription; speculates on the initial publication date of Map's work; and describes the contents of Map's work.]

The treatise de Nugis Curialium of Walter Map is preserved in a single manuscript1 of the end of the fourteenth century...

(The entire section is 5186 words.)

James Hinton (essay date 1917)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "James Hinton and Ser Giovanni," Modern Philology, Vol. XV, No. 4, August, 1917, pp. 203-09.

[In the following essay, Hinton offers summaries of several Medieval tales of chivalry in order to refute the once widely held belief that Map's story "De Rollone et eius uxore" was published during his lifetime and was also the source of a later Italian novella.]

Walter Map's De Nugis Curialium contains only one story which has been claimed as the source of a later piece of mediaeval fiction. A peculiar interest naturally attaches to that story, "De Rollone et eius uxore," which is found in Distinctio III, cap. v, of Map's book.1 This interest is...

(The entire section is 3063 words.)

Montague R. James (essay date 1923)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: A Preface to De Nugis Curialium, by Walter Map, translated by Montague R. James, edited by E. Sidney Hartland, Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, 1923, pp. ix-xi.

[In the following preface to his English translation of De Nugis Curialium, James argues that Map lacked proficiency in Latin and that, thus, his word choice is sometimes inaccurate and his sentences are cumber-some.]

Walter Map is a very difficult author to translate. My aim, in making the English version of his book, which is here offered to the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, has been to produce something which shall be quite faithful to the sense which I think the writer is trying to...

(The entire section is 848 words.)

Helaine Newstead (essay date 1970)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Some Observations on King Herla and the Herlething" in Medieval Literature and Folklore Studies: Essays in Honor of Francis Lee Utley, edited by Jerome Mandel and Bruce A. Rosenberg, Rutgers University Press, 1970, pp. 105-10.

[In the following essay, Newstead demonstrates how Map combined traditional folk legends to satirize the English court of Henry II, of which he was a member.]

Among the many marvels recounted by Walter Map in the miscellany known as De Nugis Curialium, the story of King Herla has attracted the attention of diverse scholars largely because of the assumed connection of his name with the traditions of Harlequin and the Wild...

(The entire section is 2963 words.)

A. K. Bate (essay date 1972)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Walter Map and Giraldus Cambrensis," Latomus, Vol. XXI, No. 3, October-December, 1972, pp. 860-75.

[In the following excerpt, Bate refutes the popular notion that Map and fellow Medieval writer Giraldus Cambrensis (also known as Gerald of Wales) were close friends, and further suggests that Giraldus plagiarized some of Map's work.]

Over the past fifty years or so, scholars attempting to define the origins of Goliardic poetry and Arthurian romance have shown that two of the most widely propagated ideas about Map are far from being the most accurate, and gradually the bulk of the literature attributed to him, that is Goliardic and Arthurian poems, has been taken...

(The entire section is 7773 words.)

Lewis Thorpe (essay date 1978)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Walter Map and Gerald of Wales," Medium Aevum, Vol. XLVII, No. 1, 1978, pp. 6-21.

[In the following essay, Thorpe examines the connections between Map and Gerald of Wales (also known as Giraldus Cambrensis) and speculates on the extent to which the prolific Gerald might have been influenced by the apparently unprolific Map.]

When one considers how often his name has appeared in manuscripts and in print, and what remarkable attributions have been made to him, it is strange how little we really know about Walter Map as a writer. All that we seem to have from his pen is the so-called De Nugis Curialium, an interesting work, but incomplete, uneven, without...

(The entire section is 6952 words.)

A. G. Rigg (essay date 1992)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Walter Map" in A History of Anglo-Latin Literature 1066-1422, Cambridge University Press, 1992, pp. 88-92.

[In the following excerpt, Rigg presents an overview of Map's work, focusing on the objects of his satire.]

… Walter Map was also born about 1135, and was part-English, part-Welsh. He describes England as his 'mater', but refers to the Welsh as his 'compatriote' and his surname is Welsh for 'son of. For most of his life he lived close to the Welsh border ('marchio sum Walensibus'). He was probably educated first at St Peter's Abbey in Gloucester, and then studied in Paris. He enjoyed the patronage of Henry II and travelled widely with the court, both in...

(The entire section is 3011 words.)

Monika Otter (essay date 1996)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Underground Treasures: The Other Worlds of William Malmesbury, William of Newburgh, and Walter Map" in Inventiones: Fiction and Referentiality in Twelfth-Century English Historical Writing, The University of North Carolina Press, 1996, pp. 93-128.

[In the following excerpt, Otter describes Map as "an extremely self-aware narrator," blurring the lines between fiction and fact as other Medieval historians have done, but more intensely aware than they seem to have been that his "history" lacks a reliable foundation.]

… A fuller, more properly self-referential use of the Liar [paradox] is one of the major premises of Walter Map's De Nugis Curialium....

(The entire section is 7008 words.)