World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

William the Clerk of Normandy

Article Id: WHEBN0018062164
Reproduction Date:

Title: William the Clerk of Normandy  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: William, 1227 in poetry
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

William the Clerk of Normandy

William the Clerk of Normandy (French: Guillaume le Clerc de Normandie) (fl. 1210/1211–1227/1238) was a Norman cleric and Old French poet. He is not the same person as the Scoto-Norman poet William the Clerk, who wrote the Roman de Fergus, sometimes wrongly attributed to the Norman.

William was married with a family. Both the Catholic Encyclopedia and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODB) maintains that he lived for a time in England, but it remains that he did not write in the Anglo-Norman dialect. He was originally from Normandy and his works suggest that he resided in the Diocese of Lichfield in England.

William authored "six religio-didactic works for lay audiences" (ODB). The oldest, dated to 1210 or 1211, and most popular—it survives in twenty manuscripts—is the Bestiaire divin ("Divine Bestiary"), a work of natural history and theology. It is dated on the basis of a reference to the sad state of the English Church in 1208. It contains many descriptions of animal life. It is dedicated to William's lord, a certain Radulphus, whose name is the object of an etymology given in the epilogue. Radulphus may be Ralph of Maidstone, who was treasurer of Lichfield in 1215. The Bestiaire was given several printings between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries.

William's also wrote the Vie de Tobie for one William, prior of Kenilworth in Arden (1214–27), also in the diocese of Lichfield, and Les joies de notre Dame (or nostre Dame), which survives in only a single manuscript. The legendary Vie de Sainte Marie-Madeleine, a short biography of Mary Magdalene, belongs to an unknown date. The Besant de Dieu, an allegorical poem, William composed in 1226 or 1227. For this William drew on several recent events: the publication of De miseria conditionis humanae by Pope Innocent III, the Fourth Crusade, the interdict placed on England by Innocent in 1208–13, the Albigensian Crusade, and the Albigensian campaigns of Louis VIII of France. William also comments on the oppression of the peasantry by their rulers. William's last piece, Les treis moz de l'evesque de Lincoln, was written between 1227 and 1238 for Alexander Stavensby, the Bishop of Lichfield.

Several fabliaux have been erroneously assigned to William: Du prestre et d'Alison, La male honte, and La fille à la bourgeoise. There is no grounds for these ascriptions.


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.