edited by Edmund King ; translated by K.R. Potter
The Historia Novella is a key source for the succession dispute between King Stephen and the Empress Matilda which brought England to civil war in the twelfth century. William of Malmesbury was the doyen of the historians of his day. His account of the main events of the years 1126 to 1142, to some of which he was an eyewitness, is sympathetic to the empress's cause, but not uncritical of her. Edmund King offers a complete revision of K. R. Potter's edition of 1955, retaining only the translation, which has been amended in places. Not only is this a new edition but it offers a new text, arguing that what have earlier been seen as William of Malmesbury's final revisions are not from his hand. Rather they seem to come from somewhere in the circle of Robert of Gloucester, the empress's half-brother, to whom the work is dedicated. In this way the work raises important questions concerning the transmission of medieval texts.