Part three: Consequences
in The Black Death
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This section introduction presents an overview of the historiography and provides background to the following translations that chart the social and psychological impact of the plague, and its effects on the late-medieval economy. In the course of the twentieth century historians generally became much less willing to ascribe sweeping cultural or psychological changes to the plague. The re-assessment of the plague's impact went on a revision of the accepted levels of plague mortality. J. Huizinga's famous evocation of the late middle ages stands in the same tradition as J. J. Jusserand's description of the religious scepticism which followed the plague. Cardinal Gasquet had been convinced that the first outbreak of plague had carried off half the English population. For contemporary chroniclers, the behaviour of the lower classes after the plague was a clear sign of the world plunging further into sin. The belief that the loss of one third of the population could be absorbed without immediate economic distress rested on the assumption that the population of pre-plague England had become too large for the available resources.

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