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By Paul Hardwick

Misericord carvings current a desirable corpus of medieval paintings which, in flip, enhances our wisdom of existence and trust within the past due heart a while. topics diversity from the sacred to the profane and from the glorious to the standard, doubtless giving equivalent weight to the scatological and the non secular alike. Focusing in particular on England - although with cognisance of broader ecu contexts - this quantity deals an research of misericords with regards to different cultural artefacts of the interval. via a sequence of themed "case studies", the e-book locations misericords firmly in the doctrinal and devotional milieu during which they have been created and sited, arguing that even the it appears coarse photos to be discovered underneath choir stalls are in detail associated with the devotional lifetime of the medieval English Church. The research is complemented by means of a gazetteer of the main striking situations.

Dr Paul Hardwick is Professor in English, Leeds Trinity collage university.

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Extra info for English Medieval Misericords: The Margins of Meaning (Boydell Studies in Medieval Art and Architecture, Volume 2)

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Georges Duby notes that by the mid-twelfth century the economic status of the ploughman had become such that the ‘plough’ (a term embracing the implement itself, the beasts which pulled it and the man who drove them) was the unit to reckon labour services in the Cluniac inventory – a practice which was adopted shortly afterwards by English landlords: Georges Duby, Rural Economy and Country Life in the Medieval West, trans. Cynthia Postan (London: Arnold, 1968), pp. 115–16. 59 Langland, Piers Plowman, B Prologue 118–20.

Taking the three elements of the carving together, then, the misericord appears to depict the vital sequence of rural occupations which together provide the foundation of food production, with the ploughman placed – figuratively as well as literally – right in the centre of these activities. ] The poem is unusual in its narrative perspective, being composed in the voice of – if almost certainly not actually by – the ploughman himself. Written at a time during which labourers were held in strict obligation to their social superiors, it articulates the pressures and constraints under which these workers found themselves.

4). Depicted elsewhere in media as diverse as inexpensive popular prints and stone carvings in churches, this latter scene shows a foolish impossibility performed by one who knows no better, and we smile at the ridiculousness of the incongruity. In the Whalley carving, the sheer senselessness of the activity is made still more explicit by the addition of an accompanying inscription: ‘Who so melles hy[m] of þ[at] al me[n] dos let hy[m] cu[m] heir & shog þe ghos’ [Whoever concerns himself with the business of other men, let him come here and shoe the goose].

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