The Gesta Normannorum Ducum is one of the most important sources for the history of Normandy and England in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and contains the earliest prose account of the Norman Conquest. It was written by a succession of authors, the first of whom was William of Jumieges, who wrote for William the Conqueror. Later writers, such as Orderic Vitalis (d. c.1142) and Robert of Torigni (d. 1186), interpolated and extended the chronicle as far as King Henry I (1100-1135). The later accretions reveal much not only about changing attitudes towards the Norman invasion of England, but also about views of the early Viking foundation of Normandy. Elisabeth van Houts's two-volume edition is based on a study of all forty-seven extant manuscripts of the Gesta, including the earliest surviving copy of c. 1100, hitherto unknown. The full original text of William of Jumieges is supplied, as well as the integral text of the subsequent revisions and additions. Volume I contains Dr van Houts's introduction to the whole work, together with the text and translation of books i-iv. Books v-viii will appear in Volume II.
The edition forms an important contribution to our understanding of Anglo-Norman politics.