The Ties That Bound

The Ties That Bound : Peasant Families in Mediaeval England

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Description

The history of great men and events is familiar to every schoolchild but the facts of everyday life in bygone eras remain a tantalizing mystery. Now Barbara Hanawalt has lifted the curtain on "the dark ages" and has provided an intimate view that seems surprisingly familiar and yet at odds with what many experts have told us. For the thesis of this book is that the biological needs served by the family have never changed and the way fourteenth-century peasants coped with such problems as providing for both the newborn and the aged, controlling premarital sex, and alleviating the harshness of their material environment was not altogether unlike our twentieth-century solutions. Using a variety of medieval sources, notably over 3,000 coroners' inquests into accidental deaths, the author emphasizes the continuity of the nuclear family from the middle ages into the modern period and explores the reasons for such families being the basic unit of society and the economy. the book abounds in fascinating detail, here citing an incantation against rats, there noting the hierarchy of bread consumption ("our modern supermarket bread could be seen as the ultimate fulfillment of the peasants' dream of white bread"), or the games people played. The book makes abundantly clear that what we popularly think of as the dark ages are really filled with sunlight as well as shadows and with the doings of ordinary people who must get on with the business of living and find some joy in it. About the Author: Barbara A. Hanawalt is Associate Professor of History at Indiana University and author of Crime and Conflict in English Communities, 1300-1348.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 358 pages
  • 160.02 x 236.22 x 33.02mm | 612.35g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195036492
  • 9780195036497

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333 ratings
4 out of 5 stars
5 31% (104)
4 44% (146)
3 20% (68)
2 3% (9)
1 2% (6)
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