Chapter

‘Blessed are the horny hands of toil’: Wycliffite Representations of the Third Estate<sup>1</sup>

HELEN BARR

in Socioliterary Practice in Late Medieval England

Published in print December 2001 | ISBN: 9780198112426
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191707865 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198112426.003.0007
‘Blessed are the horny hands of toil’: Wycliffite Representations of the Third Estate1

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This chapter argues that the anonymous writers of Wycliffite texts generate a distinctive vision of social community through their use of repeated tropes and marked vocabulary to characterise members of the second estate in relation to the third, and through their reregistration of available peasant and anti-peasant discourses. It explains that from a collation of localized comments in other tracts about the place and function of the third estate, a coherent and consistent Wycliffite view of the peasants emerge, especially in the discussion of labourers. It shows a tension in medieval images of peasants.

Keywords: Wycliffite; representation; third estate; second estate; peasant; peasant labourers; medieval period

Chapter.  14165 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)

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