Historical Dictionary of Late Medieval England, 1272-1485

by Ronald H. Fritze, ed., William B. Robison, ed.

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March 2002


Pages 680
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics World History/Culture
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Providing the chronological setting for many of Shakespeare's plays, various swashbuckling novels from Sir Walter Scott's to Robert Louis Stevenson's, and such Hollywood films as Braveheart, late Medieval England is superficially well known. Yet its true complexity remains elusive, locked in the covers of specialized monographs and journal articles. In over 300 entries written by 80 scholars, this book makes the factual information and historical interpretations of the era readily available. Covering political, military, religious, and constitutional subjects as well as social and economic topics, the volume is easy to use, comprehensive, and authoritative. It provides a useful resource for undergraduate and graduate students, scholars, and educated laymen.

Rightly characterized as an age of crisis, the 14th century saw the Hundred Years War, the Black Death, the Peasants' Revolt of 1381, the Avignon Papacy, and the Great Schism of the Western Church. All placed great stresses on English society, aggravating old problems and creating new ones. In the late Middle Ages, parliament became an important element in English government; Cambridge and Oxford universities attained European-wide reputations; and general literacy increased. The Church remained a paramount religious, political, and social institution, but its independence and intellectual monopoly slipped. The entries in this book synthesize recent scholarship on these and other historical events. While emphasizing political, religious, constitutional and military topics, the book also provides brief introductions to social, economic, cultural, and intellectual topics. It is a valuable guide for those wishing to understand this complex, tumultuous, and until recently, poorly understood era.

Table of Contents

IntroductionHistorical Dictionary of Late Medieval EnglandChronologyBibliographyIndex



The 374 entries are up-to-date, reflect a knowledge of the most recent scholarship, and take balanced positions....Recommended for public and undergraduate libraries.—Choice

Contributions are very well written and succinct, providing all the necessary information a researcher, or even someone with a more general interest in the period, could require....[a] valuable source of information for scholars and students studying this particular period of medieval English history. It would also be of use to the casual reader who wishes to check the details of a particular event or consult a brief biography of major people from this period. As such it would be a useful addition to the reference collections of academic, public and even school libraries.—Reference and Reviews

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