Published online by Cambridge University Press: 25 August 2018
Around the turn of 2013–14 Rodney Thomson began to think about a conference with William of Malmesbury as its theme. He did so for at least three reasons: firstly, there had never been a conference devoted solely to William, and the time seemed ripe for one; secondly, Michael Winterbottom would turn 80 on 21 September 2014, and a conference seemed an appropriate way of honouring his long and fundamental service to William studies; and finally, Rodney and Michael had in hand a new edition and translation of William's Miracles of the Virgin; its completion would mean that all of William's original works were now available in critical editions with accompanying translation. Publication was scheduled for the middle of 2015, and it seemed possible that it could be made to coincide with an appropriate date for a conference – in the event it appeared a little later.
Because Rodney Thomson and Michael Winterbottom were both long retired, their access to funding and other forms of institutional support was limited. RMT therefore contacted the Medieval Chronicle Society early in 2014, who quickly put him in touch with Ilya Afanasyev, then a graduate student at Hertford College, Oxford. Ilya had been responsible for organising a conference of the Society held in Oxford in 2012, in which Rodney Thomson had played a marginal role. Ilya was willing to put together a team, and the conference began to take shape. From the ground in Oxford, Ilya, Emily Dolmans and Emily Winkler organised and managed the programme on the theme of ‘William of Malmesbury and his Legacy’, held on 3–5 July 2015. What the conference revealed is that the true extent of William's legacy is still beyond our grasp. There is much more to learn, and to discover.
The conference was an impetus for the volume, but this book is also an endeavour in its own right. It includes papers not delivered at the conference, and covers a wider range of material. It does not purport to represent the full range of scholarship on William of Malmesbury, but rather to show that such efforts are very much alive. It is our express hope that the volume will be as inspiring to others as the conference and papers were to us.