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The Problem of Labour in Fourteenth-century England

At the very moment that the image of the honest labourer seemed to reach its apogee in the Luttrell Psalter or, a few decades later, in Piers Plowman, the dominant culture of the landed interests was increasingly suspicious of what it described as the idleness, greed and arrogance of the lower orders. Labour was one of the central issues during the fourteenth century: the natural disasters and profound social changes of the period created not merely a 'problem' of labour, but also new ways of discussing and (supposedly) solving that problem. These studies engage with the contrasting and often competing discourses which emerged, ranging from the critical social awareness of some of the early fourteenth-century protest literature to the repressive authoritarianism of the new national employment laws that were enforced in the wake of the Black Death, and were expressed in counter-cultures of resistance and dissent. JAMES BOTHWELL and P.J.P. GOLDBERG lecture in history, and W.M. ORMROD is Professor of History, at the University of York. Contributors: CORDELIA BEATTIE, CHRISTOPHER DYER, RICHARD K. EMMERSON, P.J.P. GOLDBERG, KATE GILES, CHRIS GIVEN-WILSON, STEPHEN KNIGHT, DEREK PEARSALL, SARAH REES JONES.
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Table of Contents

The problem of women's work identities in post-Black Death England, Cordelia Beattie; work ethics in the 14th century, Christopher Dyer; "the Lord Geoffrey had me made" - lordship and labour in the Luttrell Psalter, Richard K. Emmerson, P.J.P. Goldberg; framing labour -the archaeology of York's medieval guildhalls, Kate Giles; the problem of labour in the context of English government, c.1350-1450;, Chris Given-Wilson; the voice of labour in 14th-century English literature, Stephen Knight; "Piers Plowman" and the problem of labour, Derek Pearsall; household, work and the problem of mobile labour - the regulation of labour in medieval English towns, Sarah Rees Jones.


Interesting and stimulating collection. effectively illustrated the worth of subjecting traditional historiographical themes to further scrutiny and to new methodological approaches. ECONOMIC HISTORY REVIEW

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