Article

When did ‘the Medieval’ End?

Greg Walker

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/9780199229123.013.0037

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 When did ‘the Medieval’ End?

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This article examines the end of the medieval period and offers retrospection of the English Middle Ages. It argues that if we are looking for a single date on which it might be said that the Middle Ages were brought to an end, then 1547 has probably a stronger claim to that distinction than any other single year in the long sixteenth century. It explains that it was during this year that a spiritual dispensation that had underwritten social and cultural life in England for generations was officially erased from the nation's cultural memory, and beliefs that had been central to official and popular culture for centuries were declared definitively to be false.

Keywords: medieval period; England; 1547; spiritual dispensation; social life; cultural life; cultural memory

Article.  6825 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)

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