London: Sumptibus Societatis, 1840. First edition. Hardcover. Near fine. Item #21285
2 volumes. 4,(2),388; xxvii,(2, 389-)815pp. Recent quarter calf, leather spine labels, gilt, marbled paper boards/ A near fine copy.
So far as we can tell, this is the first printing of the text of William's history of the Kings of England. It was edited by Thomas Duffus Hardy from the manuscript. Volume two has a Preface by Hardy outlining the main points of William's history; William's text, however, is in Latin. An extensive Index (in English) is at the end of volume two, and the Latin text has English shoulder notes.
William (1390-ca. 1143) was a monk at Malmesbury where, though he could have been abbot on several occasions, preferred to remain as librarian. His historical contributions to the contemporary reign of Stephen are invaluable; and his records of earlier Norman Kings, being based on direct knowledge and/or direct hearsay, are also important. There are two important references to Arthur, and in one, William asserts that Arthur's sepulcher was never found, evidence of his historicity.