Matthew Paris: The Life of St. Alban

Translated and introduced by Jocelyn Wogan-Browne and Thelma S. Fenster

with The Passion of St. Alban by William of St. Albans,
translated and introduced by Thomas O’Donnell and Margaret Lamont

Manuscript stuides by Christopher Baswell and Patricia Quinn

Publication Information

This volume presents the first translation of Matthew Paris’s Vie de seint Auban, the great thirteenth-century chronicler’s life of the patron saint of his own monastery of St. Albans. In addition to its role within the monastery, this key text in Paris’s canon was aimed at elite lay patrons from the court of Henry III. The Life, extant in a single manuscript largely written in Paris’s own hand and extensively illustrated by him, offers vivid accounts of conversion and crusading piety, and casts the Romano-Britons of early England as evil Saracens. The manuscript has not been published in detail since M. R. James’ black and white collotype prints of 1924. This volume includes a substantial introduction, the first translation of the Life; a new translation of Paris’s chief source, theVita sancti Albani; two essays on the manuscript; and a generous selection of colour images. The volume redresses modern scholarship’s relative neglect of the Life of St Alban and will be of interest to scholars and readers of medieval literature, medieval history and culture, and the history of religion and religious literature. An appendix of original text excerpts adds to its usefulness in both graduate and undergraduate courses.