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Essays in popular romance
Editor: Nicola McDonald

This collection and the romances it investigates are crucial to our understanding of the aesthetics of medieval narrative and to the ideologies of gender and sexuality, race, religion, political formations, social class, ethics, morality and national identity with which those narratives emerge.

Susan M. Johns

-emphasised the mutuality between parties, that is, between donor(s) and beneficiary, could be symbolic and were usually voluntary.2 This approach is similar to that of Barbara Rosenwein, who stressed the relationships between donors which were created when gifts were exchanged.3 Dominique Barthélemy argues that social class was exhibited when precious objects such as gold rings were exchanged.4 Stephen White also argues that the social context of gift exchange is important because countergifts were tangible expressions of specific social hierarchies and served to define the

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
Open Access (free)
Susan M. Johns

figures: all are distinct from contemporary trends. Each countess was therefore making a public statement of individuality, status and lineage, as well as reflecting distinctive tastes in their cultural patronage. It is also notable that they imaged their matrilineal ancestry, rather than their father’s lineage. As the twelfth century progressed and sealing practice became more widespread through the social classes, and thus as women of the lesser nobility used seals, so there is more variety in detail, even humour, with the use of zoomorphic images upon women’s seals

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
Socio-cultural considerations of intellectual disability
Irina Metzler

? Stereotypes of social class, especially alleged rusticity, also abounded in connection with ID. The medieval peasant often was an object of contempt and derision to his contemporaries, described as rough, dirty, boorish and foolish. One may note here the image of the ‘stupid’ peasant, referring to the entire class of peasants, not just individuals, as being mentally less able than their social superiors. ‘Peasants were supposed to be stupid, an enduring image of the countryman common across boundaries and time.’ 104 Boorish , of course, is the adjective pertaining to the

in Fools and idiots?
Abstract only
Dignity and memory
Lester K. Little

different social classes. One of the best in his view was a poor, typically illiterate peasant from the Valley of Lanzo, which place, he says in passing, had by long-standing tradition the mission of providing Turin with servants and wine porters. 3 Edmondo De Amicis wrote in a similar vein in his Military Life ( Vita militare ) of 1880, where he spoke of the harsh lives of the good people of the mountains to the west of Turin. He listed the valleys and their numerous towns, recalling how their sons came down each winter to be wine porters or wood cutters, or to go

in Indispensable immigrants
Abstract only
Lester K. Little

good life. And although this triad may appear to be about three social classes, that is not the case, because most of those in the upper tiers of the clerical order came from families of the fighting order. The bishops as well as the abbots and abbesses who headed religious houses were virtually all siblings or close relatives of kings and queens, counts and countesses, and so on. Indeed some abbots and abbesses proclaimed proudly that in their monastic communities there were no members who did not come from noble families. Meanwhile most priests were peasants who

in Indispensable immigrants
History and context
Sally Mayall Brasher

political power and expression of civic responsibility. It also provided an opportunity for the cities’ gradual emancipation from the authority of ecclesiastical powers. Lay and semi-religious groups who founded and administered hospitals became integral players in the political arena. Roisin Cossar gives us the most compelling study to date of the intersection of religion, community, social class, and political power within the Italian city-state of the Middle Ages. 45 She emphasizes the importance of understanding the increased participation

in Hospitals and charity
David d’Avray

who their third cousins were. But Italy may have been quite different. Extended clans were a strong feature of social life. These massive clans transcended social class and the gulf between city and contado. They extended beyond true blood relationship: they were ‘imagined kinship communities’ though with a large basis in objective blood relationship. Their potential for social disruption was huge. The ‘four degree’ rule, however, must have encouraged marriage outside the clan. According to the leading authority on Italian clans the principle of exogamy was in

in Law, laity and solidarities
Abstract only
Victoria L. McAlister

. This was not simple social emulation by the new social classes created by economic opportunity, but rather a more complex phenomenon. Several scholars have argued against a theory of social emulation in the Middle Ages, among them Gardiner (Gardiner, 2000 ; Rees Jones, 2008 ). Regarding England, Gardiner states against the theory of social emulation that: Pearson has noted that in Kent the wealthy yeomen were in the vanguard of innovation in the early 16th century. They were able to be more innovative in

in The Irish tower house
Abstract only
The cooperative model of the polity
Irene O'Daly

, with seeking to identify a specific locus of power in medieval society, or with extrapolating conclusions about individual social classes. While these objectives are meritorious, they tend to isolate elements of John’s theories indiscriminately without evaluating his perspective as a whole. By emphasising instead the role of duties and the reciprocal relationships between members of the polity that result from a natural extension of care from the self to others, the perspective presented here takes into account the subtleties of the individual relationships between

in John of Salisbury and the medieval Roman renaissance