Christine Carpenter's influential work on late-medieval English society aspires to encompass a wide spectrum of human experience. Her vision of "total" history embeds the study of politics in a multi-dimensional social framework which ranges from mentalities and ideology to economy and geography. This collection of essays celebrates Professor Carpenter's achievement by drawing attention to the social underpinning of political culture; the articles reflect the range of her interests, chronologically from the thirteenth century to the sixteenth, and thematically from ideology and culture, through government and its officials, the nobility, gentry and yeomanry, the law and the church, to local society. The connection between centre and locality pervades the volume, as does the interplay of the ideological and cultural with the practical and material. The essays highlight both how ideas were moulded in political debate and action, and how their roots sprang from social pressures and interests. It also emphasises the wider cultural aspects of topics too-easily conceived as local and material.
Benjamin Thompson is Fellow and Tutor in History at Somerville College, Oxford; John Watts is Professor of Later Medieval History at the University of Oxford and Fellow and Tutor of Corpus Christi College, Oxford.
Contributors: Jackson Armstrong, Caroline Burt, Tony Moore, Richard Partington, Ted Powell, Andrea Ruddick, Andrew Spencer, Benjamin Thompson, John Watts, Theron Westervelt, Jenny Wormald.