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The ‘great divide’ between the medieval and the early modern is nowhere more apparent than in ‘the history of the book’ – a field of study in which it has been particularly damaging to our understanding of the processes by which books and other texts were manufactured and distributed in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Money in the Medieval English Economy: 973–1489 is an insightful and wide-ranging book on money and its place in the medieval English economy, covering the period that began in 973 with the decree that there should be a single coinage in England, and which ended in 1489 with the institution of the pound coin.
Socialising the child explores the role of the household and school in socialising the children of the gentry and the middle ranks of urban society between 1400 and 1600, outlining how childhood was imagined by writers and educators, and how it was presented to child and adult readers in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Marjorie McIntosh is one of the foremost social and cultural historians of her generation, and has done much to advance the cause of later medieval and early modern English history. Her Controlling Misbehavior in England, 1370-1600 (1) was a pathbreaking study, and she has also published extensively on women’s work in late medieval and early modern England.
Mary Stroll’s latest contribution to the history of the medieval papacy is a brave endeavour to illuminate the political factors the undergirded the successes and failures of the papal reform movement in the 11th century.
It is one of the worst vices of medievalists that we are too reluctant to take the authors of our major sources at their word. We are keen to classify (or dismiss) repeated ideas or phrases as tropes, topoi or commonplaces merely because they are frequently repeated.
Karen Overbey’s monograph is undoubtedly a welcome addition to the weighty collection of (predominantly antiquarian) archaeo- / art-historical studies focusing on medieval Irish relics and reliquaries, a healthy proportion of which is judiciously consolidated and summarised throughout the book.
This collection of essays forms an excellent Festschrift for Professor John Hatcher, whose eclectic range of research is displayed by the volume’s division into three parts: the first explores the medieval demographic system; the second charts the changing relationship between lords and peasants; and the third highlights the fortunes of trade and industry after the Black Death.
This impressive collection has its origins in 2007 when the editors organized a conference on the regular canons in the British Isles, to shine a light on current research on this form of regular life. Scholarship on the regular canons has been rather overshadowed by that on the Benedictines and Cistercians, but this multidisciplinary publication does much to redress the balance.
One of the greatest challenges facing the historian is the problem of hindsight: we cannot un-know what happened next, but must nevertheless try to avoid seeing the past through a distorted lens. Hindsight does, however, have its advantages, and one of them is that it focuses attention on areas of the past which might otherwise be relatively neglected.