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Socioliterary Practice in Late Medieval England$
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Helen Barr

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780198112426

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198112426.001.0001

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‘Blessed are the horny hands of toil’: Wycliffite Representations of the Third Estate 1

‘Blessed are the horny hands of toil’: Wycliffite Representations of the Third Estate 1

Chapter:
(p.128) Chapter Six ‘Blessed are the horny hands of toil’: Wycliffite Representations of the Third Estate1
Source:
Socioliterary Practice in Late Medieval England
Author(s):

HELEN BARR

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198112426.003.0007

This chapter argues that the anonymous writers of Wycliffite texts generate a distinctive vision of social community through their use of repeated tropes and marked vocabulary to characterise members of the second estate in relation to the third, and through their reregistration of available peasant and anti-peasant discourses. It explains that from a collation of localized comments in other tracts about the place and function of the third estate, a coherent and consistent Wycliffite view of the peasants emerge, especially in the discussion of labourers. It shows a tension in medieval images of peasants.

Keywords:   Wycliffite, representation, third estate, second estate, peasant, peasant labourers, medieval period

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