William of Alton: An Englishman in Paris
This chapter surveys the evidence concerning William of Alton’s life and works and describes several of the obstacles to exploring them. By contrast with his contemporaries Albert the Great, Bonaventure, and Thomas Aquinas, William has rarely been cited or discussed by other authors since the Middle Ages, and apart from his recently edited commentary on Lamentations, none of his known works has been reproduced. In other words, for several centuries he had virtually no literary history. Also, the commentaries ascribed to him pose numerous problems of attribution—most copies of the writings believed to be his are anonymous, and the fragmentary evidence left by medieval scribes is often contradictory. Further, the near absence of editions of any authenticated writings and the lack of any known theological treatises by him make it difficult to establish a basis for evaluating works of uncertain authenticity.
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