Article

Anti‐Social Reform

Stephen Kelly

in The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Literature in English

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199229123
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199229123.013.0019

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 Anti‐Social Reform

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This article examines writing about rebellion and anti-social reform in medieval England. It discusses examples where carnivalesque inversion of social hierarchy reveals political dissatisfaction on the part of the rebels and suggests that what is constructed as definitively anti-social action on the part of the rebels should be seen as reformism rooted in a plebeian culture which monastic historiography sought to erase. It argues that if the quest for a rebel voice has often been undertaken at the expense of rebel textualities, then it can be concluded that the excavation of rebel ideology must begin by recognizing the desire for reform across all levels and institutions of fourteenth-century English society.

Keywords: rebellion; anti-social reform; writing; medieval England; social hierarchy; political dissatisfaction; plebeian culture; monastic historiography; rebel ideology

Article.  6258 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)

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