Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Living Dangerously: On the Margins in Medieval and Early Modern Europe

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Living Dangerously: On the Margins in Medieval and Early Modern Europe

Article excerpt

Living Dangerously: On the Margins in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, ed. Barbara A. Hanawalt and Anna Grotans (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 2007). viii + 174 pp. ISBN 0-268-03082-7. $27.00 (p/b). This new group of six essays by eminent historians and literary scholars treats marginalized and rascally members of medieval and Renaissance society in Europe and the New World, spanning and linking periods and cultures. Some of the subjects - criminals, Gypsies, prostitutes - are expected, others - speculators, satirists - more surprising. One emphasis of the volume is the need of a dominant culture to define margins. Richard Firth Green writes on the plea of necessity, which could excuse theft, in medieval law and literature, taking Piers Plowman as his starting point. …

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