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Problems of definition and historiography

illness. (4) The people thus identified are a tiny, abnormal minority at the lowest extreme from the norm of intelligence. (This holds true whether or not the norm is measurable, by IQ for example.) (5) The causes of the deficit are natural in a deterministic sense, i.e. ‘nature’ implies ‘necessity’. (This holds true whether or not nurture is perceived to have an influence.) 9 This stands in contrast to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which since the mid-twentieth century and

in Fools and idiots?
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-demographic) • the demands and constraints of the seigneurial economy and of resistance to the same • the development of commerce and the market. In the second half of the twentieth century, these broad approaches were employed with varying degrees of emphasis to make sense of the peasant experience and to help identify and explain change over time, especially in the period from 1200 to 1500. This also, as we will see, generated a good deal of debate as advocates of one or other model clashed; at different moments, different

in Peasants and historians
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Much of the early twentieth-century discussion of the medieval economy, and of the peasant’s role within it, was located within and was explained by institutional structures. Some of the more important studies of medieval agrarian history produced in the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were directed at lordship but thereby admitted a detailed investigation of peasants as tenants. Thus, for example, A.E. Levett’s examination of the Black Death on the Winchester estates has much to say about the changing obligations of the tenantry but rather less to say

in Peasants and historians

The study of the medieval peasantry in demographic terms is new relative to other kinds of historical approach in this area. The history of population emerged as an academic subject in the second half of the twentieth century. It was, mostly, with the expansion of the subject range of the discipline of history in the 1960s that systematic demographic investigation of past societies was undertaken, and this was as true for the study of the medieval English countryside as for other research areas. Themes central to demography, most

in Peasants and historians

by focusing upon a few case studies to analyse ways that individual women have been portrayed and consider what this can tell us about conceptions of the roles of women in the past. The analysis will consider the place that Nest occupies in late-twentieth- and twenty-first-century portrayals of the Welsh medieval past and will begin to suggest ways that the significance of this for our understanding of the imagined past of twentieth-century and contemporary Wales can be discussed. It will consider a range of evidence including travel literature, histories, and more

in Gender, nation and conquest in the high Middle Ages

Since the mid-twentieth century, much of the discussion of the medieval English peasantry has, in some form or another, been determined by consideration of the overarching theme of population and the availability of resources relative to the peasant’s capacity to cope in his or her world. Some aspects of population history, such as the components of demographic change (mortality, fertility, mobility) or social structure and the family, are topics for discussion in later chapters but the theme of population movement and the relationship

in Peasants and historians
Socio-cultural considerations of intellectual disability

eponymous novel is ejected from the army and classified as an idiot. His idiocy, as the above passage implies, is feigned, since he only acts the part of the fool because it suits him. In medieval terms, Švejk is an artificial fool. The natural fool has the same kind of idiotic freedom that Švejk the good soldier has come to possess by his deliberate act of imitation (or deception?), which therefore renders him an early twentieth-century reincarnation of the medieval artificial fool. In his case the proverbial ignorance is bliss. The distinction between natural and

in Fools and idiots?
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twentieth centuries is a belief that irrespective of whether they recognized it at the time, France had existed as a sovereign nation throughout the Middle Ages, at least since the Capetian accession in 987. Robert Fawtier would summarize this position elegantly in the introduction to his 1942 book Les Capétiens et la France , which sought to understand ‘the part played by the Capetian dynasty in the creation of the French nation’. 18 A major consequence of this has been a strong focus on administrative and institutional history by scholars interested in medieval France

in Constructing kingship
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Rationality, intelligence and human status

distinction between miraculi and mirabilia based on Thomas of Cantimpré. Wondrous things were distinguished according to their causality, so that mirabilia are still subject to the divine order and are wondrous only because they are preternatural, while miracula are caused through the complete revocation of natural laws by direct divine interference. Therefore it might actually have been regarded as ‘wrong’ to heal the idiots of their idiocy. Clarke noted that, as of the mid-twentieth century, when he was conducting his research, the Hutterites among modern

in Fools and idiots?
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Chaucer: validity in interpretation

problematic figure for the twentieth-century reader may not have presented difficulties for a fourteenth-century audience; how the scepticism of the Nun’s Priest has a rather different basis from that of modern scepticism; how the humour of the ‘Wife of Bath’s Prologue’ lies in her unwitting confirmation of the criticisms levelled against women by clerical misogynists; and how the defence of

in Chaucer in context