Laura Ashe: “Writing in the Age of Magna Carta”

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November 7, 2013 @ 6:00 pm
November 7, 2013 @ 7:30 pm
Program in Medieval and Early Modern Studies
Hamilton Hall
102 Emerson Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27514 United States

569 Hamilton Hall

Around the end of the thirteenth century, English writing emerges in volume to join the chorus of French and Latin commentary on the times, on kingship, and on recent and distant history. The effect of the vernacular is inescapably political, making the arena of political debate an ever-expanding zone. Simultaneously, changes to parliamentary governance, great expansions and innovation in the legal system, the reverberations of Magna Carta, and a culture of petitioning and representation, drew the business of the realm ever closer to being the business of the whole populace. Conflict, hardship, and complaint drove both of these developments, and they are closely related. It is just at the moment when the voices against oppression are loudest and most numerous, that reform must inevitably come; it is when we hear in all three languages of the breakdown of society, that society is coalescing across social boundaries.
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