- Edited by Anne M. Scott, The University of Western Australia
Exploring a range of poverty experiences-socioeconomic, moral and spiritual-this collection presents new research by a distinguished group of scholars working in the medieval and early modern periods. Collectively they explore both the assumptions and strategies of those in authority dealing with poverty and the ways in which the poor themselves tried to contribute to, exploit, avoid or challenge the systems for dealing with their situation.
The studies demonstrate that poverty was by no means a simple phenomenon. It varied according to gender, age and geographical location; and the way it was depicted in speech, writing and visual images could as much affect how the poor experienced their poverty as how others saw and judged them. Using new sources-and adopting new approaches to known sources-the authors share insights into the management and the self-management of the poor, and search out aspects of the experience of poverty worthy of note, from which can be traced lasting influences on the continuing understanding and experience of poverty in pre-modern Europe.
Contents: Preface; Experiences of poverty, Anne M. Scott; Part I Survival Strategies: The experience of being poor in late medieval England, Christopher Dyer; ‘Oppressed by utter poverty’: survival strategies for single mothers and their children in late medieval England, Philippa C. Maddern; Pauper apprenticeship in South Derbyshire: a positive experience?, Ann Minister; The experience of single women in early modern Norwich: ‘rank beggars, gresse maydes and harlots’, Lesley Silvester. Part II Forms of Poor Relief: ‘The names of all the poore people’: corporate and parish relief in Exeter, 1560s-1570s, Nicholas D. Brodie; The politics of charitable men: governing poverty in 16th-century Paris, Susan Broomhall; Charitable ‘intent’ in late 16th-century France: the Nevers foundation and single poor Catholic girls, Lisa Keane Elliott; Reckless endangerment?: feeding the poor prisoners of London in the early 18th century, Margaret Dorey; Inoculation of the poor against smallpox in 18th-century England, Michael Bennett. Part III Textual and Visual Representations: Poverty as a mobile signifier: Waldensians, Lollards, Dives and Pauper, Mark Amsler; Le Chastel de Labour, la Voie de Povreté ou de Richesse and a luxury book, Widener 1 , Free Library of Philadelphia, Anne M. Scott; The gifts of the poor: worth and value, poverty and justice in Robert Daborne’s The Poor Man’s Comfort, Mike Nolan; ‘The sounds of population fail’: changing perceptions of rural poverty and plebian noise in 18th-century Britain, Peter Denney; Select bibliography; Index.
About the Editor: Anne M. Scott was, until recently, Convenor of the Australian Research Council Network for Early European Research 2006-2010 and is currently an honorary research fellow at the University of Western Australia. Her field of research is in fourteenth-century English Literature, and she has published a monograph, Piers Plowman and the poor, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2004, three volumes of collected essays, and several essays on fourteenth- and fifteenth-century English literature. She is Editor of Parergon, the journal of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, now available as part of the Project MUSE database.
Reviews: 'Experiences of Poverty […] offers important and unique contributions to the historiography… The particular value of this book is that while the authors unambiguously situate their studies within well-defined historiographical traditions, they base their own research upon previously untapped sources or re-examine known sources from a new perspective… this multi-disciplinary book is highly recommended.' Social History
'… this collection of essays succeeds in outlining the complex realities and representations of poverty across a broad chronological sweep.' Sixteenth Century Journal
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Full contents list
Chapter 1 - Experiences of poverty