William and the Werewolf

By Michael Smith

A beautifully illustrated translation of the fourteenth-century chivalric epic.

History | Poetry
62% funded
233 supporters
Funding
Support this project
Make William and the Werewolf a reality – choose your reward below.
$25 
5 pledges

Digital

Digital edition and your name printed in the back
Choose this reward
$40  + shipping
76 pledges

Hardback

First edition hardback, your name printed in the back plus the ebook.
Choose this reward
$70  + shipping
12 pledges

Lovers' Pledge

A signed copy of the first edition hardback with a personal thank you from Michael and a hand-written line from the poem, chosen and written by him in Middle English, featuring one of the love passages spoken by one of the characters. Plus the name of you and your partner or loved one printed TOGETHER in the back.

PLUS:

  • ebook
Choose this reward
$75  + shipping
5 pledges

Tea towel

A tea towel of the cover plus a signed first edition hardback, your name printed in the back plus the ebook.
Choose this reward
$75  + shipping
15 pledges

Mug

A specially designed mug plus a signed first edition hardback, your name printed in the back plus the ebook.
Choose this reward
$85  + shipping
7 pledges

Read With a Friend

Two signed, first-edition hardbacks, two ebooks and two names in the back of the book.
Choose this reward
$100  + shipping
3 pledges

Gawain with William

A Signed copy of the book, plus ebook, plus a boxed set of 16 high quality greetings cards (with envelopes) featuring linocut prints by the author (including some images from Michael’s first book, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight). Only 12 Sets Available.

PLUS:

  • Your name in the back of the book
Choose this reward
$100  + shipping
1 pledge

Wanderer William

A signed copy of the book, plus ebook, plus a boxed set of 16 high quality greetings cards (with envelopes) featuring linocut prints of Viking and Anglo-Saxon art, all created by the author. Only 12 Sets Available

PLUS:

  • Your name in the back of the book.
Choose this reward
$100  + shipping
5 pledges

Walking with William

A Signed copy of the book, plus ebook, plus a boxed set of 16 high quality greetings cards (with envelopes) featuring linocut prints of mediaeval animals and people from William’s time, all created by the author. Only 12 Sets Available

PLUS:

  • Your name in the back of the book.
Choose this reward
$130  + shipping

Original Linocut Illustration - Escaping Bears

A signed copy of the book, plus e-book, plus this beautiful ORIGINAL linocut illustration, hand-printed and signed by the author, on 250gsm Somerset Velvet paper, ready for framing (printed area 6” x 6”). Featuring the passage in the romance when William and Melior escape Rome disguised as bears. Only 5 Available.
Choose this reward
$130  + shipping

Original Linocut Illustration - Forester and his Dog

A signed copy of the book, plus e-book, plus this beautiful ORIGINAL linocut illustration, hand-printed and signed by the author, on 250gsm Somerset Velvet paper, ready for framing (printed area 6” x 6”). Featuring the passage in the romance when the forester and his dog come across William as a boy, hiding in a cave. Only 5 Available.
Choose this reward
$130  + shipping

Original Linocut Illustration - William shooting

A signed copy of the book, plus e-book, plus this beautiful ORIGINAL linocut illustration, hand-printed and signed by the author, on 250gsm Somerset Velvet paper, ready for framing (printed area 6” x 6”). Featuring the passage in the romance when William learns his skills in the forest. Only 5 Available.
Choose this reward
$150  + shipping

Four For Friends

Four SIGNED copies of the book, plus four e-books and four different names in the back.
Choose this reward
$180  + shipping
1 pledge

Tea for Two with William

Two signed, first-edition hardbacks plus two mugs and a tea towel featuring the cover design.

PLUS:

  • Two ebooks
  • Two names in the back of the book
Choose this reward
$370  + shipping
Only 1 left!

Lovers by Moonlight – UNIQUE hand tinted print

A signed copy of the book, plus e-book, plus this beautiful ORIGINAL linocut print, hand-printed and then meticulously tinted with egg-based paints and signed by the author, on 250gsm Somerset Velvet paper, ready for framing (printed area 9” x 6”). Only 1 available
Choose this reward
$370  + shipping
Only 1 left!

Lovers by the Castle – UNIQUE hand tinted print

A signed copy of the book, plus e-book, plus this beautiful ORIGINAL linocut print, hand-printed and then meticulously tinted with egg-based paints and signed by the author, on 250gsm Somerset Velvet paper, ready for framing (printed area 9” x 6”). Only 1 available
Choose this reward
$375  + shipping
4 pledges

Lecture Theatre Pledge

Ten first edition signed hardbacks, your name printed in the back plus ten ebooks for use in Middle English lectures and readings of William and the Werewolf.
Choose this reward
$675  + shipping

All Six Linocuts

All of the six linocuts mentioned above plus a signed first edition book, your name in the back and the ebook. Only 5 Available.
Choose this reward
$750  + shipping

Cover Art

A hand-coloured linocut print of the image on the cover, hand-printed and signed by the author, on 250gsm Somerset Velvet paper, ready for framing (printed area 12” x 12”). Only one available.
Choose this reward

Sold out!

$370  + shipping
1 pledge

Lovers at the Joust – UNIQUE hand tinted print

A signed copy of the book, plus e-book, plus this beautiful ORIGINAL linocut print, hand-printed and then meticulously tinted with egg-based paints and signed by the author, on 250gsm Somerset Velvet paper, ready for framing (printed area 9” x 6”). Only 1 available.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I get my book delivered to?

We deliver to most countries worldwide. Enter your delivery address during checkout and we'll display the shipping cost when we know where to send your book.

How do supporter names work?

Every person who pledges to help to make a book gets their name included in a supporter section as a thank you as long as they pledge before the list closing deadline. If you want to add a different name, this can be changed in your account after you have completed your pledge.

Still have a question? Visit our Help Centre to find out more.

William and the Werewolf, also known as William of Palerne (Palermo), is a magical mediaeval love story and adventure romance.

Originally written in France in the twelfth century and then translated into English in the fourteenth, this magnificent alliterative poem tells the story of a young Sicilian prince who is kidnapped by a werewolf. But not all is as it seems – the werewolf is the Spanish prince Alphonse whose stepmother had transformed him so that her son could inherit the kingdom. As for William, he would have been killed or imprisoned by his own wicked uncle were it not for the werewolf…

The story is a parallel adventure following both William and Alphonse as they unravel these injustices and eventually find redemption. Along the way, William falls in love and elopes with the headstrong Melior and it is their relationships that makes this poem truly enchanting. Some of the descriptions of the exquisite pain of first love are still as vivid and realistic today as they would have been 800 years ago.

As well as being a mediaeval adventure romance in its classic form, the poem addresses a wide range of themes. They include inheritance rights; the freedom of women to choose for themselves; the importance of forgiveness; familial duties; the duties of social class; the codes of social behaviour and much more. William and the Werewolf is a book that can be enjoyed on two levels: as a beautiful romance and as a coded insight into the lives and ethics of mediaeval European society.

This edition is translated from the fourteenth century Middle English by Michael Smith, whose translations of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and King Arthur’s Death have also been published by Unbound. As with his previous books, William and the Werewolf will feature a detailed historical introduction, a comprehensive glossary and notes, and Michael’s own rich linocut illustrations.

William and the Werewolf will appeal not just to mediaevalists and lovers of English literature, but also to anyone who enjoys a beautiful and romantic story where right is done and love conquers all!

Please do support this stunning new translation – it will be a pleasure (and a treasure) for any booklover to own.

Support this project

Quick select rewards

  • Michael Smith avatar

    Michael Smith

    Michael Smith comes from Cheshire and read history at the University of York, specialising in English and European mediaeval history. In later years, he studied as a printmaker at the Curwen Print Study Centre near Cambridge. His first book, a translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, published in July 2018 from Unbound. His second book The Death of King Arthur is published February 2021. You can find out more about his mediaeval-themed art and printmaking at www.mythicalbritain.co.uk.

  • 2nd September 2021 Join me on a journey to hear the voice of mediaeval writers and how they inspire me - short film

     

    Fellow traveller,

    I have produced a brief film about the beauty of fourteenth century Middle English and why I find it so inspiring; in particular, the notion of making contact with the voices and personalities of the unknown writers themselves.

    In the film, I introduce you to some familiar proverbs which you might not think were centuries old. I also take you into the world of the narrator…

    21st July 2021 Is there really life after death? Austin Friars in London reveals some secrets

    If you walk from Liverpool Street Station in London towards St Paul's Cathedral along Old Broad Street you might, in one unthinking moment, blink and miss a curious little alleyway on your right hand side. At the corner where the pedestrian turns into Throgmorton Street is Austin Friars; the unprepossessing entrance to a part of London now long forgotten.

    Here is a place where centuries ago…

    29th June 2021 Imagined castles and faraway lands in mediaeval romance

    As well as being rich in chivalric exploits and common themes of quest and adventure, mediaeval romances are also defined by their setting; in particular those of castles and countries. Possibly due to its French origins and/or the presence of the Normans in Sicily, the story on which William and the Werewolf is based sets itself in the Italian peninsula, with dynastic links to Spain and to Greece…

    18th May 2021 William and the Werewolf new linocut illustrations

    Dear subscriber – as the fundraising continues for William and the Werewolf, I thought I’d update you with work behind the scenes: the not inconsiderable task of illustrating the book! I estimate I’ll need to produce around 40 linocut illustrations to give balance to the translation; reflecting its “feel good” theme, I’ve chosen a gentler illustrative style than with King Arthur; more akin to…

    28th April 2021 An end to sleaze, duplicity and lies - voices from the past show us the way

    As once again government ministers become embroiled in allegations of sleaze embedded in a suffocating cloud of self-entitlement, mendacity and lack of empathy, it’s all too often easy to forget that we’ve been here before - in the end days of Edward III and the years of Richard II.

    In the days before social media and a notionally free press (and indeed the days before what we claim to call…

    5th April 2021 A new kind of chivalry - not Apocalypse Now

    Mediaeval poets knew how to describe a good battle: lots of charging, slashing, blood and gore. The Alliterative Morte Arthure, King Arthur's Death, is one such example - perhaps taking matters to extremes at times with the nature of knightly injuries inflicted. And yet... how warfare is described may, it seems, depend on your patron. Who was the scribe writing the romance for?

    In William and…

    2nd March 2021 M R James, Humphrey de Bohun and William and the Werewolf

    In 1936, M R James and E G Millar published The De Bohun Manuscripts: a Group of Five Manuscripts Executed in England about 1370 for Members of the De Bohun Family through the Roxburghe Club. Describing together a group of manuscripts of major importance, it revealed the De Bohuns (prounounced de Boon) as patrons of works of the highest order.

    Outside the collections of royal circles, these…

    4th February 2021 A mediaeval scribe and the secrets he reveals

    The work of mediaeval scribes was one of quiet concentration and, at times, excruciating pain and toil; their manuscripts often all we have left to tell of the dedicated, yet unsung, lives they lived. In the case of the Middle English William of Palerne (William and the Werewolf) there is only one mansucript to tell such a tale of its creator, contained today within a larger manuscript, King’s…

    17th January 2021 The folk motif of the Fair Unknown in William of Palerne

    In the words of Leah Haught of the Camelot Project, the "Fair Unknown" is a “universally popular folk motif with strong Arthurian connections in which a young man of questionable lineage becomes an integral part of society. Initially appearing in court without an established identity, the Fair Unknown nevertheless boldly demands to be knighted.” Classic examples in the Arthurian canon are Chretien…

    22nd December 2020 Mediaeval marriage vows and dramatic tension in William and the Werewolf

    In my last update, I discussed the passion of the two lovers in William and the Werewolf, that between the Sicilian prince William and the Roman princess, Melior. In this update, I want to reflect on the significance of this for the story and how the poet frames the romance so it is rich in tension for its contemporary audience.

    Central to the tension is William’s perceived unroyal status …

    11th November 2020 Courtly love, sex and desire in William and the Werewolf

    A central component of William and the Werewolf (the fourteenth century romance also known as William of Palerne) is the love between William, the poem’s central character, and Melior, the daughter of the Roman Emperor. Yet it is how this love plays out which makes us consider our approach to the notion of “courtly love”.

    When the emperor first brings William to his palace as a foundling in…

    19th October 2020 Home entertainment and the reading of books in the mediaeval household.

    Public storytelling, alongside minstrelsy, dancing, jesting and games, formed an important part of entertainment in noble, knightly and/or merchant households in fourteenth century England. Such storytelling included readings from stories such as William and the Werewolf (William of Palerne).

    Like a number of such works, it takes the form of a long poem, broken down into manageable sections…

    5th October 2020 A mediaeval werewolf with a difference

    The character of the werewolf in the Middle English poem William of Palerne (the romance of William and the Werewolf) is one which, when we meet it, is not what we were expecting. A benign creature whose mission is to help others combat injustice is in remarkable contrast to the notion of the werewolf in our own minds. Why is he so different?

    To consider the notion of the werewolf, it is important…

  • These people are helping to fund William and the Werewolf.

    User avatar

    Rachael Buckland-Spector

    User avatar

    Liz Weldrake

    User avatar

    Emily Hodder

    User avatar

    Jeremy Hanks

    User avatar

    Corinne Stone

    User avatar

    Vikki Bayman

    User avatar

    Lauren Louise

    User avatar

    Ruth Stevens

    User avatar

    Andrew Hingston

    User avatar

    Sheila Dunn

    User avatar

    Damien Hyland

    User avatar

    Brian Foster

    User avatar

    Ian Preece

    User avatar

    Bruce Alcorn

    User avatar

    Brent Isaacs

    User avatar

    Rae Streets

    User avatar

    Max Rohleder

    User avatar

    Hugo Perks

    User avatar

    Andrew Zeiner

    User avatar

    Sir Harold Walker

    User avatar

    Anthea Robertson

    User avatar

    An anonymous donor

    View more
  • John Luke Chapman
    John Luke Chapman asked:

    hi, is the £25 Hardback pledge guaranteed to be a first edition?

    Michael Smith
    Michael Smith replied:

    Hi John - yes it is. Kind regards, Michael.