In Their Own Words examines early medieval history-writing through quotation practices in five works, each in some way the first of its kind. Nithard's Historiae de dissensionibus filiorum Ludovici Pii is extraordinary for its quotation of vernacular oaths, the first recorded piece of French. The Gesta Francorum is the first eye-witness account of the First Crusade. Geoffrey of Villehardouin's La Conquete de Constantinople, written by a leader and negotiator of the Fourth Crusade, and Robert de Clari's La Conquete de Constantinople, written by a common soldier in the same crusade, are the first extant French prose histories. Li Fet des Romains, a translation and compilation of all the classical texts about Julius Caesar (including Caesar's own Gallic Wars) that were known in the thirteenth century, is the first work of ancient historiography and the first biography to appear in French. Jeanette Beer's work bridges the divide between the study of vernacular and Latin writing, providing new evidence that the linguistic cultures were not isolated from each other.
Her examination of quotation practices in early medieval histories illuminates the relationship between classical and contemporary influences in the formative period of history-writing in the West.
Jeanette Beer is a professor emerita and a senior member of Lady Margaret Hall and St Hilda's College, at Oxford University.
Foreword Chapter One - The First Words of French: Nithard's Historiae de dissensionibus filiorum Ludovici Pii Chapter Two - Whose Words are They? Gesta Francorum et aliorum Hierosolimitanorum Chapter Three - Villehardouin 'Who Never to the Best of his Knowledge Spoke an Untrue Word' La Conquete de Constantinople Chapter Four - Robert de Clari, Povre Chevalier Who 'Wrote the Straight Truth': La Conquete de Constantinople Chapter Five - In the Words of the Author: Li Fet des Romains: The Gallic War Chapter Six - In the Words of the Author: Li Fet des Romains: The Civil War Conclusion Afterword Bibliography of Works Cited