Medieval assumptions about the nature of literary and historical narrative representation were widely different from our own. Writers and readers looked for truths that were not necessarily literal or empirical fact, and the embellishments of language bore a more complex relationship to the objects of representation in the historical past that was depicted. Ruth Morse's challenging book makes a study of the principles of rhetorical invention that operate as a context for the interpretation of medieval historical narratives. It examines the background of medieval education in rhetoric, commentary and invention, and looks at different modes of writing--history, biography and translation. She traces ways in which historical narratives claimed their legitimacy, for example by reference to earlier textual authorities. In analyzing the complex process of narrative reconstruction, the author herself reconstructs medieval habits of reading and writing, and provokes far-reaching questions about language and representation.