be modest on his subject’s behalf


Senior Member
Chinese - China
As is so often the way with William Marshal’s biography, the desire of the writer to be modest on his subject’s behalf seldom outweighed his wish to show off how much he knew about great events. So, having written that he had nothing to say about 1215, he immediately went on to provide a succinct and perspicacious summary of the political dispute that boiled up and produced a great charter, a massive civil war and a full foreign invasion:

Excerpt from
Realm Divided
Dan Jones

Hi. What does the bold part mean?
Thank you.
  • Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    To be modest : to present one’s achievements in such a way as to avoid boasting and excessive pride.
    On someone’s behalf : to do something in the name of someone else - for example a parent might apologise on behalf of their child
    His subject : the person whose biography it is.
    This writer apparently has a style which avoids putting excessive emphasis on the role of the person he is writing about: if the person was writing the book themselves they would appear modest.
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