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date: 16 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines writing about rebellion and anti-social reform in medieval England. It discusses examples where carnivalesque inversion of social hierarchy reveals political dissatisfaction on the part of the rebels and suggests that what is constructed as definitively anti-social action on the part of the rebels should be seen as reformism rooted in a plebeian culture which monastic historiography sought to erase. It argues that if the quest for a rebel voice has often been undertaken at the expense of rebel textualities, then it can be concluded that the excavation of rebel ideology must begin by recognizing the desire for reform across all levels and institutions of fourteenth-century English society.

Keywords: rebellion, anti-social reform, writing, medieval England, social hierarchy, political dissatisfaction, plebeian culture, monastic historiography, rebel ideology

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