This article compares the treatment of war and nationalism in two of Geoffrey of Monmouth's texts, the Historia regum Britanniae (ca. 1136) and Vita Merlini (ca. 1148–50), arguing that the Vita Merlini critiques the earlier text's problematics of colonial sovereignty. By contrast, the Vita explores a politics of the local, the natural, and the geographically and emotionally connective. It renounces the war-producing dynastic rivalries of the Historia and instead imagines healing through a local community of friendly exchange and knowledge production. The Vita's critique illuminates the unanswerable ambiguities of the Historia and witnesses further to the human and political futilities of its version of British nationalism.

You do not currently have access to this content.