Time and History in the Works of William of Malmesbury

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Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

Original languageEnglish
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Award date2020
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Abstract

This thesis offers the first systematic and in-depth study of the representation of time in the works of the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman chronicler William of
Malmesbury. Time was at the heart of how the past was understood in the medieval period. This shaped how history was recorded and written about. However, until recently, historical writing has been neglected as a source for uncovering medieval notions of time. By examining William of Malmesbury’s representation of time through the narrative structure of his works, his depiction of prophecy, and his deployment of narrative imagery, this thesis will argue that William of Malmesbury’s depiction of time was a significant factor in his works. This thesis identifies that notions of time shaped the content and interpretation of a text.
Furthermore, this thesis will argue that by using the notion of time as a tool of
historical analysis, we can achieve a deeper comprehension of William of
Malmesbury’s writings, and that it is possible to uncover deeper concerns that are
otherwise difficult to unearth