John of Trevisa
John of Trevisa, sometimes called John de Trevisa or John Trevisa, was a contemporary of Chaucer. He was a prolific translator, an is best know for his translation of Ranulph Higden's Polychronicon, a universal history.
From 1362 to 1369 Trevisa was a Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford, and in 1369 became a Fellow of Queen's College, but was dismissed in 1379. Later he became vicar of Berkeley and chaplain to Lord Berkeley, and also canon of Westbury-on-Severn. In 1387 he translated and extended Ranulph Higden's Polychronicon, a universal history, and in 1398 he translated Bartholomaeus Anglicus' De Proprietatibus Rerum (On the Properties of Things), an encyclopedia. Another Latin work translated by Trevisa is Aegidius Romanus' De Regimine Principum, which became one of the sources of Thomas Hoccleve's Regiment of Princes. He also translated Richard Fitz-Ralph's Defensio Curatorum and the Dialogus inter Militem et Clericum attributes to William of Ockham.
The Dialogue between a Lord and a Clerk accompanies his Polychronicon and is dedicated to Lord Berkeley. Trevisa is also said to have translated the Bible and he is generally regarded as one of the greatest translators of his time.
Trevisa is well known to students of Middle English for his description of the state of the English Language in the year 1385 which he inserted into his translation of the Polychronicon. An excerpt follows:
(Chap. lix: The Languages of Britain)
|Literature, Middle English Period, Poetry, Prose|