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GESTA ROMANORUM

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TRANSLATED FROM THE LATIN BY

THE REV. CHARLES SWAN

REVISED AND CORRECTED BY

WYN NARD HOOPER, MA.

CLARE COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE

“They" (the Monks] "might be disposed occasionally to ricreate their
minds with subjects of a light and amusing nature; and whať could be more
innocent or delightful than the stories of the GestaKOMAYORUM ?”, -

Douce's Illustraticns of Shakespeare.

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LONDON

GEORGE BELL & SONS

1906


PRINTED BY

WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED,

LONDON AND BECCLES.

9 82 37

PREFACE.

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It is somewhat remarkable that, in spite of the great interest attaching to the Gesta Romanorum, as the most popular story book of the Middle Ages, and as the source of much literature in that and later times, no English version of it should have appeared until 1824, when a translation was published in two volumes by the Rev. C. Swan. Mr. Swan, though his translation was in many respects faulty, kept to the original with tolerable fidelity, and only deliberately tampered with the text once; namely, in altering the termination of Tale XXVIII., because he considered that the story, as it stood, did not afford a good “moral.” He very often paraphrased; and where the Latin contained too bald a statement of facts, he considered himself justified in amplifying the narrative. But this can hardly be objected to. The stories are often told so carelessly that a translator is bound to add something in his rendering to make them express what they were intended to convey to the reader. An English version of a work like the Gesta Romanorum should certainly not be a literal translation.

The present edition is a reprint of Mr. Swan's, with considerable corrections and alterations. Whenever Mr. Swan only expanded the Latin in his translation so as to express what was really implied in the original, I have left his rendering untouched. But I have expunged whatever

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