Gerald of Wales : a new approach.
The history and topography of Ireland, written by Gerald of Wales, offers a vivid insight into the significance and purpose of literature in twelfth-century Norman England. This dissertation seeks to place Gerald’s works within the ‘bigger picture’ of the twelfth century. While numerous historians have made reference to Gerald of Wales in relation to specific topics, few set his works in a broader political, cultural or literary scope. This study considers Gerald’s motives for writing the Topography, within the context of these broader themes. His potential motives are compared with those of his contemporaries, to determine whether his views were unique or more prevalent among writers of his time. This is done by assessing Gerald’s Topography alongside similar works by both contemporary and classical writers. The present study draws on previous historiographical trends in considering the influence of the Twelfth-Century Renaissance on Gerald’s works. It also employs more recent trends in assessing Gerald’s writings from the perspective of cultural and intellectual history. The study diverges from traditional approaches, however, in its attempt to draw together each of these historiographical trends. Gerald’s work is thus contextualized within a broader historical landscape. This approach offers new insights into political, intellectual and literary influences on twelfth-century writing. The findings of this dissertation determine Gerald’s main inspirations in writing. These include his political motives, education, and classical literary influences. New links between medieval and classical texts are also considered. These conclusions offer a fresh contribution to traditional scholarship and existing studies of the Topography. A broader approach is taken in examining the content and purpose of such works, as well as their place within wider medieval society.
SubjectsField of Research::21 - History and Archaeology::2103 - Historical Studies::210305 - British History
- Arts: Reports