Gerald of Wales, Part I: Early Life and Works

The son of a Norman Marcher lord and a Welsh princess, J.J.N. McGurk writes, ‘Giraldus Cambrensis’ was a brilliant recorder of British life in the twelfth century.

No twelfth-century writer is more familiar to English readers than Gerald of Wales - more commonly known by the scholastic form Giraldus Cambrensis. In the great mass of Anglo-Norman literature of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, much of it serious and dull, none blends information and entertainment more successfully in a wide range of works than Giraldus. Readers need little skill in criticism to see his vanity, credulity and lack of consistency; yet all who read him are attracted by his wit, charm and learning, no less than by his deep love of the natural beauties of Wales and Ireland, described with topographical detail.

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