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io8arthuriana alternative, and arguably more 'popular,' tradition of the terrifying corporeality and malevolence of the dead. Perhaps for him such revenants lie outside the scope of his book: they are emphatically animated corpses, not ghosts. But they feature in several of his sources and it would have been valuable to hear more about how he sees the two traditions co-existing. William ofNewburgh's stories (82-3), for instance, show a local population preferring their own methods of dealing with vampires— involving dismemberment and cremation—to the Church's less bloodthirsty solutions. As a ireasure-trove of stories, some of them purportedly autobiographical, the book is irresistible. But it is what Schmitt then does with his material that constitutes the real tour deforce. He offers a nuanced and subtle interpretation of how the presentation of ghosts changed, and what this has to tell us about contemporary assumptions. He points out, tor instance, that the ghosts' response to their questioners shows how long it took the doctrine of Purgatory to become standardised (180-1). The stories, in other words, do not just embody an official 'line,' but, in spite of their clerical provenance, let us glimpse the extent to which the Church's teaching was being absorbed. The evidence of the ghost stories allows Schmitt to identify what he sees as a fundamental shift in the relationship of the living and the dead in the early thirteenth century, although his summary avoids any judgement on whether change was being driven from above or below. This is an important and fruitful book, which for the first time treats medieval ghosts with the sort of intellectual seriousness and sophistication which more recent revenants have begun to enjoy. Schmitt has been well served by his translator, and the few technical slips (such as minor orders' for Minorites on p.23 and the misunderstanding ofsaisir on p.221) stand out for their rarity. ROSEMARY IIORROX Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge p.j.c. field, Malory: Texts andSources. Arthurian Studies XL. Woodbridge, Suffolk and Rochester, N.Y: Boydell & Brewer, 1998. Pp. x, 313. isbn: 0-85991-5360. $90. Malory: Texts and Sources contains twenty-three articles, all but one of which have been previously published. In light ofthis it can fairly be said that the volume offers its reader little that is new, but much that is useful. Indeed, there are several pieces in this collection that no one thinking to publish on Malory, and in a perfect world, no one preparing to teach Malory, should leave unread. T he volume may well be viewed as a companion to Field's revision of the third edition of Ihe Works ofSir Thomas Malory (edited by Eugene Vinavcr, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990). Ofthe twenty-three articles in the current volume, fourteen were published after rhat editorial task was completed. These articles range from very short pieces on place and character names or particular editorial cruces, to full length articles that significantly alter our understanding ofMalory and our use ofthe standard edition of his works. Among the latter is 'Malory and the French Prose Lancelot,' which REVIEWS109 points out the serious weaknesses in Vinaver's comparisons between Malory's text and the prose Lancelot. This article, a significant extension of one of Field's notes in his revision of The Works (p. 1426, n.286), provides a good example of Field's methods and the importance of his results. He compares Malory's 'Noble Tale of Sir Launcelot du Lake' with its corresponding sections in eighteen manuscripts of the prose Lancelot. His results show that in Vinaver's selection of a manuscript for source comparisons with Malory's text, '[Vinaver] could hardly have chosen worse' (215). Field's careful tabulation ofcorrelations and his analysis of them can make for some slow going for readers not already steeped in the minutiae of editing and source analysis. At the same time, the results are important for all who base arguments about Malory's relation to his sources solely on the information in Vinaver's commentary. The one piece offresh scholarship here, 'The Choice ofTexts for Malory's Morte Darthur,' clearly responds to the issues of editing Malory which have risen in the last...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1934-1539
Print ISSN
1078-6279
Pages
pp. 108-109
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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