The Life which is here presented to the reader is for the most part a translation of the French Vie de St. Hugues de Lincoln, which was published by a monk of the Grande Chartreuse in 1890. From one cause or another the production of the hook in its present form has entailed almost as much labour as the composition of an original work would have done, and the Editor has more than once been tempted to regret, when it was too late, that he had not cut himself entirely free from the trammels imposed by a rendering from another language. The English version, however, had already been made, and had become the property of the Manresa Press before the duties of editorship devolved upon him. If the name of the translator does not appear upon the title-page, the omission is not due to any wish to ignore the service so rendered, but only to the fact that in editing it for publication very many changes have been made in the version throughout, and parts of it even rewritten. It is possible that a number of these changes might not be regarded by the translator, or others, as changes for the better, and it seems fairer to leave the responsibility indeterminate than to assign any definite name to what is really the work of more than one hand. If any difference of style be detected between the earlier and later portion of the book, it is chiefly to be referred to the process of revision just spoken of. In the first few chapters the French as originally translated has been more closely adhered to, in the later the Editor has allowed himself considerably greater latitude. Although the Preface, the Appendices, and occasionally portions of the text, of the French Life have been omitted, the printed matter contained in the book has been increased by more than one-third, i.e., by the equivalent of more than two hundred pages of the present volume. This is due to the large number of additional topics which have been dealt with in the text or in the notes, a list of which, under the heading Additions, will be found in the Index. To the substantial facts of the history of St. Hugh's career, the Editor can claim to have contributed little that is new. Perhaps the most interesting of the points here touched upon for the first time is the connection between the subject of this biography and the revelations of the monk of Eynsham. The fact that St. Hugh must have been personally acquainted with many of those whose fate in the next world is there described, lends emphasis to the share taken by him in the publication of the vision. Again, a rather important chronological error, which has led Mr. Dimock, and with him all subsequent English writers, to antedate by five years the coming of St. Hugh to England, and hence to make the Saint five years older than he really was, has at last, I think, been finally disposed of.2 The author of the French Life had already rectified this mistake, but his correction is now· further justified by an extract from the Bruton Chartulary, and by the indisputable evidence of an entry in the Norman Exchequer Rolls, to which attention had not previously been directed. The Editor's principal aim, however, has been to supplement the. information given by the French biographer in those features of the Life which have a special bearing upon English history or English institutions, or which depend upon local knowledge not easily accessible to a monk writing at a distance, and with the restrictions imposed by the Rule of the Grande Chartreuse. That must be my excuse for dwelling, perhaps somewhat unduly, upon such questions as perpetual vicarages, St. Hugh's grants of churches, the right of sanctuary, the character of Henry II, &c., and particularly on the Cathedral, the Jewry, and the leper hospital of Lincoln, the site of the house where St. Hugh died in London, and of the tomb where his remains first reposed.
Herbert Thurston SJ, Brother Hermenegild TOSF, Paperback, ISBN 10: 1492756385, ISBN 13: 9781492756385