Héritage(s) dans le monde anglophone

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Les études consacrées aux phénomènes de rupture, de démarcation, de refus sont nombreuses. Le présent volume s'intéresse, quant à lui, à la continuité : échanges, transmission, relations entre passé et présent, mais aussi entre présent et futur. Les seize articles regroupés ici sont pluridisciplinaires (civilisation et histoire, linguistique, littérature), traversent les siècles (du Moyen Âge à nos jours) et les territoires (Grande-Bretagne, Etats-Unis, Commonwealth). L'héritage n'est pas toujours le résultat d'un choix voulu et souhaité : il peut être difficile comme le montre souvent le contexte postcolonial.
Publié le : vendredi 2 octobre 2009
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EAN13 : 9782296239654
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Héritage(s)
dans le monde anglophone

Textes réunis par

Marie- Françoise Alamichel

Héritage(s)
dans le monde anglophone
Concepts et réalités

L'HARMATTAN

cg L'HARMATTAN, 2009 5-7, rue de l'École-Polytechnique; http://www.librairieharmattan.com diffusion.harmattan@wanadoo.fr harmattan l@wanadoo.fT 75005 Paris

ISBN: 978-2-296-10210-1 EAN:9782296102101

Préface

A

vant d'intégrer l'Equipe d'Accueil IMAGER de Paris 12, les anglicistes de l'université de Paris Est-Marne-IaVallée faisaient partie de deux centres de recherche locaux: le premier regroupait les civilisationnistes et

portait le nom de « Pays anglophones: sociétés, structures

économiques, relations extérieures» tandis que le second, qui s'adressait aux littéraires et aux linguistes, s'intitulait « Passeurs culturels et mécanismes de métissage ». Ce dernier était dirigé par Robert Sayre qui a pris sa retraite en septembre 2008. Ce volume lui est tout naturellement dédié pour plusieurs raisons.

Robert Sayre avait fondé « Passeurs culturels» et en a été le seul
directeur. Il a ainsi posé l'une des deux premières pierres de la recherche en langue à ce qui était alors la toute jeune université de Marne-la-Vallée. Les enseignants-chercheurs linguistes de l'UFR Langues et Civilisations bénéficient tous aujourd'hui de cet héritage, de cette impulsion donnée il y a maintenant plus de dix ans. Les membres de l'équipe dirigée par Robert Sayre étudiaient les phénomènes de passage, brassage, mélange, et autre métissage contemporains - donc horizontaux - mais aussi ceux verticaux de tradition, patrimoine, transmission, l'ensemble analysant les composants divers et variés de l'Identité personnelle, familiale ou nationale. Les publications de l'équipe reflètent l'importance qu'elle accordait aux sources, aux racines, à leurs transformations successives par remaniement, sélection ou abandon, à la mémoire indispensable à toute communauté. Le numéro spécial de la revue Travaux et recherches de ['UMLV d'octobre 2002 consacré à l'errance portait sur une grande diversité de domaines et de périodes et Robert Sayre concluait sa présentation en écrivant: « au bout de ce parcours thématique, aucune conclusion définitive, bien entendu. Sinon le constat que l'errance, cette composante inéluctable de la condition humaine, constitue une source riche et ramifiée de réflexion et d'élaboration textuelle ». Les chercheurs dégageaient les fondements de notre Europe culturelle en traitant du Moyen Age anglais, du siècle d'or

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espagnol, de l'esthétique romantique, des récits de voyageurs et chroniqueurs. Et ceux qui s'intéressaient à des époques plus proches, ou contemporaines, faisaient le tri dans le passé pour en retenir les influences fondamentales et communes. Dans d'autres numéros de Travaux et recherches de l' UML V se côtoient ainsi des articles sur le roi Arthur, Laurence Sterne, T.S. Eliot ou «la longue méditation en images sur la mémoire, la mort et l'écriture» de Rosamond Lehmann (article de Françoise Bort). Ce que chacun privilégiait était, par conséquent, cet héritage commun qui passe de génération en génération, ces éléments de partage et de reconnaissance identitaire qui se rient des frontières (pour reprendre un autre des thèmes ayant donné lieu à une journée d'étude de l'équipe). Quant à la recherche personnelle de Robert Sayre, elle porte depuis de nombreuses années sur les (premiers) contacts entre voyageurs

blancs et Amérindiens au XVIIIe siècle alors que « l'Amérique anglaise
était (déjà) en train d'effectuer sa transition vers la« modernité », dans le sens d'une civilisation commerciale, pleinement régie par le marché. Liée à cette évolution, l'expropriation des terres indiennes s'accélérait. On assistait donc au face-à-face de deux cultures, non seulement différentes mais fondamentalement opposées: l'individualisme économique, la rationalité calculatrice qui caractérisaient la modernité naissante, s'opposaient à l'ethos traditionnel, communautaire, pré-moderne des Indiens. A cette époque, alors que les colonies anglaises étaient à l'avantgarde de l'évolution vers la modernité, les peuples amérindiens continuaient à garder en grande mesure l'intégrité de leurs cultures traditionnelles dans de vastes territoires à l'est de l'Amérique du Nord. » (<< Errances en territoire amérindien », Travaux et recherches de I 'UML V, n° 6, p. 42). Héritages multiples: naissance de phénomènes et de grandes tendances de l'histoire américaine moderne et contemporaine, origines historique, économique et sociologique des antagonismes, confrontation de valeurs et de cultures que tout opposait, reconnaissance et définition d'une civilisation et de ses nations. On y ajoutera le besoin intellectuel de Robert Sayre - Américain vivant en France soucieux, respectueux à l'extrême de l'Autre - de comprendre comment et pourquoi la rencontre avec l'Indien a finalement abouti à la quasi destruction de ce dernier et de son monde. En effet, mis à part quelques aspects purement folkloriques,

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le patrimoine indien n'a pas eu - n'a pas pu avoir - d'héritier. L'ouvrage
de Robert Sayre, La Modernité et son« autre»: récits de la rencontre avec l'Indien en Amérique du Nord au XVIIr siècle (éditions Perséides, 2008), étudie les textes de plusieurs voyageurs qui témoignent pourtant de «convergences significatives» - convergences qui furent cependant balayées par les enjeux économiques et politiques du schéma classique de la colonisation. Le volume concerne toutes sortes d'héritages. Celui du Moyen Age, période pendant laquelle les nations et les langues européennes, telles que nous les connaissons, émergèrent. Robert Braid s'intéresse à deux héritages distincts: celui, d'une part, de l'historiographie de la Grande Peste de 1349 et, d'autre part, celui de l'ensemble de lois à la disposition du roi Edouard III lorsque l'épidémie éclata. Robert Braid soutient que la Peste Noire a eu des répercussions majeures sur la société anglaise: le rôle joué par le gouvernement central (le roi et son Conseil) fut très accentué tandis que l'on assista à une adaptation des règlementations anciennes et à la mise en place de nouvelles mesures légales dans le domaine de l'économie qui devaient être utilisées tout au long des générations suivantes. Catherine Royer-Hemet aborde la même époque et le même roi d'Angleterre (Edouard III) et souligne l'intérêt des sermons pro rege qui apportent en premier lieu un témoignage sur l'actualité; le fait qu'ils aient été recopiés pendant des siècles les a amenés à constituer un patrimoine transmis d'une génération à l'autre. L'auteur du Speculum Regis Edwardi Terti s'adresse de manière péremptoire au roi, protestant à l'égard des abus générés par la guerre (de Cent Ans). Marie-Françoise Alamichel s'attache au sens premier du mot héritage, celui du patrimoine laissé par une personne décédée, et détaille le contenu des testaments une fois que ceux-ci, au XVe siècle, devinrent courants dans toutes les classes de la société anglaise. Ces documents aux formules figées et au contenu très répétitif sont toutefois « ce que nous possédons de plus intime, de plus personnel de tous ces êtres inconnus ». L'ouvrage se poursuit avec cinq articles consacrés à la GrandeBretagne. Rita Ranson propose une étape entre le Moyen Age et le XXe siècle en présentant l'impact des travaux des orthoépistes anglais du

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siècle des Lumières sur l'étude de la prononciation aux XVIœ et XIXe siècles. Le travail des orthoépistes fut considérable à une époque où il n'y avait pas de norme de prononciation et pas de système, adopté de tous, de représentation des sons. Leur héritage est triple: les orthoépistes ont, en effet, renforcé la tradition prescriptive, joué un rôle dans l'imposition d'une norme pour l'anglais et fait de l'accent un symbole social. L'article de Gilles Robel est consacré à la même époque alors que, une cinquantaine d'années après l'Acte d'Union, l'Ecosse cherchait à affirmer son identité au sein de l'espace britannique. L'accent est mis sur l'ambivalence de David Hume à l'égard de I'héritage celte, plus précisément au travers des poèmes d'Ossian et de la controverse que ceux -ci déclenchèrent lors de leur traduction et publication en anglais par James Macpherson. L'attitude de Hume évolua: il participa tout d'abord à la diffusion des poèmes pour finalement faire le choix de la civilisation des Lowlanders contre celle des Highlanders jugés primitifs et grossiers. En fin d'analyse, Hume s'intéressa au phénomène de l'opinion cherchant surtout à comprendre ce qui avait permis au public et à son ami, Hugh Blair, de croire en l'authenticité des poèmes. Nicole Terrien nous plonge au cœur de l'intertextualité multiple avec la romancière Jean Rhys comme point d'ancrage. En amont, l'héritage victorien dont Jean Rhys fait usage: Charlotte Brontë mais aussi Trollope et Thackeray. En aval, Jenny Disky qui part de Jean Rhys (mais aussi de Lewis Carroll et de Doris Lessing) pour son voyage dans le monde de la folie pour son roman Monkey's Uncle. Dans les deux cas, la relecture du roman antérieur n'est pas une remise en cause mais bien la revendication d'une filiation. Françoise Bort poursuit la remontée du temps en analysant I'héritage de la première génération des écrivains modernistes - les géants Joyce, Woolf, Eliot - transmis à la seconde génération, riche en auteurs injustement oubliés. Son étude se concentre sur le philosophe Walter Benjamin, porte-parole de ces écrivains des années trente dont les angoisses et les préoccupations sont directement liées à la Première Guerre mondiale. Alors que les modernistes tardifs n'étaient que des adolescents lors du conflit et n'eurent, par conséquent, pas de prise directe sur son déroulement, leurs pensées, comportements et œuvres sont le résultat du bouleversement qu'entraîna cette guerre. Le chaos est devenu l'image du monde, la connaissance du passé n'est là que pour

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mieux le détruire, la citation n'est plus une mise en exergue mais moyen de réfuter, modifier, purifier, tout l'art de narrer traverse une crise et « les modernistes tardifs, privés de mots qui fassent sens, s'en remettent aux avancées de l'esprit, à l'hypothèse (plutôt qu'à l'espoir) de voir une génération à venir accéder à la compréhension des choses qui leur ont échappé ». Joëlle Harel présente un vaste historique du travail des femmes en Angleterre depuis le XIVe siècle, en insistant sur la période de la Révolution Industrielle, avant de recenser les lois britanniques sur l'égalité des salaires (1970 et 1984) et le texte sur les discriminations sexistes de 1975. Elle montre ensuite leur difficile application en étudiant la société anglaise des années 1990 et affirme que «si tant de lois britanniques ne furent pas suivies d'effet c'est à cause de l'absence de sanctions nécessaires en cas de non-respect des textes législatifs ». Heureusement, conclut-elle, les mentalités changent positivement peu à peu. Les cinq contributions suivantes nous font franchir l'Atlantique. Vincent Broqua nous relie encore aux îles britanniques en examinant l'appropriation de Shakespeare par la jeune république des Etats-Unis. Dans une première partie, il nous montre, par l'intermédiaire de l'exemple de la Folger Shakespeare Library de Washington, comment le dramaturge et poète anglais fut rapidement incorporé au patrimoine culturel des Etats-Unis. Une seconde partie s'attache à l'utilisation de l'héritage shakespearien par trois poètes d'avant-garde: W. Whitman, T.S. Eliot, W. Carlos Williams. Ces derniers, tout en refusant l'imitation, font entrer Shakespeare dans une rhétorique du futur: l'héritage devient ainsi matériau présent, vivant, expérimental à leur disposition. MarieClaude Perrin-Chenour explique l'influence profonde et durable du transcendantalisme sur les femmes-écrivains américaines par son interprétation totalisante et optimiste du monde, son exaltation des bienfaits de la nature et sa mise en avant de la démocratie et de l'égalité entre les sexes. Elle passe ensuite en revue les auteures disciples d'Emerson: Margaret Fuller, Kate Chopin, Willa Cather - qui mettent en scène des moments de fusion avec une nature maternelle - Edith Wharton dont les romans plus urbains pleurent la disparition de «l'ère de l'innocence », la romancière du Sud Flannery O'Connor et celles de la Nouvelle Angleterre Sarah Orne Jewett et Mary Wilkins Freeman ainsi

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que les « écrivains de la nature» à l'instar d'Annie Dillard et Ursula Le
Guin. Une influence des philosophies orientales se fait nettement sentir chez cette dernière, influence qui était déjà perceptible chez Emerson et Thoreau. Viennent enfin, à partir des années 1960, les femmes-écrivains des minorités (Indiennes, Chinoises, Hispaniques, Mro-américaines) qui, elles aussi, «puisent toutes à des sources religieuses ou mythiques empreintes d'une puissante relation à la nature ». A l'heure où de nombreux chercheurs travaillent sur la question de la réception des textes, Olivier Brossard préfère celle de la transmission en s'appuyant sur les écrits de Peter Gizzi, poète américain expérimental. Présence et conscience de la mort sont centrales à l' œuvre de Peter Gizzi: que restet-il de soi, en effet, lorsqu'on a fini d'écrire? Que faire pour demeurer? L'écriture poétique, heureusement, s'affirme comme une continuité. Il ne s'agit pas de celle, réelle et concrète, du poète mais de celle du texte luimême, des mots qui, étape supplémentaire, dépendent du lecteur pour prendre corps. Car si la littérature est avant tout don, dépossession de soi, si elle est ce qui reste (this), ce qui n'est jamais complet, jamais fini, elle est aussi ce qui permet la possibilité d'un retour, d'une permanence, d'une mémoire - d'un héritage en amont et en aval - et la lecture «une façon de (se) présenter à nouveau in absentia ». Le langage poétique pour Gizzi est donc à la fois un don, une transmission et un échange. Amélie Moisy réunit deux nouvelles de Grace Paley et George Saunders qui se servent de la prophétie à des fins humoristiques. Par-delà l'humour, on y trouve une critique de ce qu'est devenue la société américaine: « leur Amérique n'est plus le pays refuge des commencements, c'est celui des manquements, où il faut être vigilant ». Les prophéties des narrateurs montrent, par conséquent, que l'héritage est vicié et en appellent à un (r)éveil d'une conscience éthique, à un engagement envers l'autre afin de refuser un monde déshumanisé. Les deux nouvelles sont, en effet, des mises en garde au nom d'un idéal et peuvent être comparées à un genre littéraire américain, celui de la jérémiade développée dans les sermons des puritains de la Nouvelle Angleterre. Elisabeth Boulot vient conclure cette partie en étudiant la structure et le fonctionnement du système de santé américain, héritage des politiques mises en place depuis les années 30 et le New Deal du Président Roosevelt et des mesures prises à partir des années 70, sous l'impulsion du sénateur Edward Kennedy et de

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Martha Griffin, pour l'instauration d'un Health Security Act. Cette tentative se solda par un échec en 1973 et les projets de création d'un système de couverture maladie universel disparurent jusqu'en 1993. Elisabeth Boulot analyse alors la réforme qui avait été souhaitée par le président Clinton, et les raisons de son échec, avant de présenter les mesures mises en place depuis 2003 dans certains Etats (Maine, Massachusetts, Californie) et les programmes des trois candidats (John McCain, Hillary Clinton et Barack Obama) aux dernières élections présidentielles. Marie-Elise Palmier-Chatelain ouvre la partie consacrée aux questions coloniales et postcoloniales par un voyage sur le Nil - celui d'un touriste américain en 1904. William Jarvie est l'héritier d'une longue lignée de voyageurs, écrivains, artistes ou archéologues qui depuis le XVIIIe siècle parcourent l'Egypte. Ses lettres permettent de se faire une idée de l'organisation matérielle de la descente du Nil en dahabieh de la compagnie Thomas Cook. L'article se poursuit par une présentation de la politique commerciale de la célèbre compagnie et montre que le choix entre vapeur et dahabieh n'était innocent pour personne. On change ensuite de continent et d'époque avec Florence D'Souza qui passe en revue les multiples «conflits et tensions qui minent la production littéraire indienne» : question de terminologie tout d'abord, comment définir ces créations littéraires (littérature du Commonwealth, littérature postcoloniale, voix du monde) ? Vient ensuite la difficulté de leur diffusion: les tirages étonnamment réduits des romans contemporains indiens s'expliquent par un lectorat limité et le rôle prépondérant des subventions de l'Etat. S'ajoute ensuite la diversité des auteurs de par leur langue (25 langues vernaculaires plus l'anglais), religion, origines géographique et sociale. Florence D'Souza termine ce tour d'horizon par un dernier point de divergence: les concepts postcoloniaux d'altérité, hybridité et de domination qui s'appliquent mal au cas indien. L'ensemble de ces tensions reflètent le difficile héritage colonial dans les littératures contemporaines de l'Inde. Rim MakniBejar se penche également sur la littérature contemporaine et étudie le premier roman de Nadine Gordimer écrit et situé dans la nouvelle Mrique du Sud, The House Gun (1998). Elle voit dans la violence, la banalisation des armes à feu et le sentiment de peur l'héritage direct de l'Apartheid. Le roman de Gordimer est à la fois un drame familial (le fait

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que le meurtrier soit blanc est cependant symbolique d'une nouvelle ère) et sociétal. Le propos de Gordimer, en effet, dépasse le cas de son héros par une mise en contexte beaucoup plus générale. La romancière montre la transformation politique du pays, met en avant son nouvel appareil administratif et judiciaire. Le procès du héros est ainsi directement inspiré de la Commission vérité et réconciliation. The House Gun, au final, montre que l'héritage est douloureux et que la résistance « n'est certes plus envers le régime et la brutalité du fait colonial mais envers ses séquelles, notamment la violence ». L'ouvrage se termine avec la présentation, par les étudiants du master recherche «Aires Anglophones » de l'université de Paris Est, des œuvres et la réponse à un questionnaire de la romancière originaire de Belize, Zee Edgell. Cette dernière fut l'invitée d'honneur du colloque « Héritage(s) », en partie à l'origine de ce volume, et qui s'est tenu à l'université de Paris Est les 22 et 23 mai 2008. Aux communications données alors par F. Bort, E. Boulot, R. Braid, V. Broqua, J. Harel, R. Makni-Bejar, R. Ranson, C. Royer-Hemet et N. Terrien sont venues s'ajouter les contributions de M.-F. Alamichel, O. Brossard, F. D'Souza, A. Moisy, M.-E. Palmier-Chatelain, M.-C. Perrin-Chenour et G. Robel qui ont souhaité s'associer au projet et dire toute leur amitié à Robert Sayre.

Marie- Françoise Alamichel

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Parcours universitaire de Robert Sayre

Spécialités: littérature américaine, romantisme, récits de voyage, Amérindiens, littérature et société au XVIIIe siècle en Amérique du Nord.

Diplômes:

.
.

.

Juin 1965, B.A. Degree, Université de Wesleyan (Conn., USA), spécialisation littérature anglo-américaine et française, mention magna cum laude ; un mémoire obtient la mention High Honors; Phi Beta Kappa. Décembre 1966, MA. Degree, Université de Columbia (New York, USA), littérature anglo-américaine; le mémoire de maîtrise - sur James Baldwin - obtient la mention Honors. Février 1972, Ph.D. Degree, Université de Columbia, langue et littérature françaises. La thèse de doctorat obtient la mention Distinction et le prix pour la meilleure thèse de 1971-72 dans le département.

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Octobre 1987, Doctorat d'État sous la direction de Claude Duchet :
«

La Sociologie de la littérature: une tentative de synthèse critique »,

Université Paris 8, Mention: Très honorable. Enseignement et Recherche:

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.

.

. . . .

. . . . . . .

1969-1971 : Preceptor de langue française, Université de Columbia (USA). 1971-1974 : Adjunct Assistant Professor de langue et de littérature françaises, Université de la Ville de New York (C.U.N.Y. - USA). 1974-1979: Assistant Professor de langue et de littérature françaises, Université de Harvard (USA). 1979-1980: Postdoctoral Research Fellowship à la Fondation Camargo (Cassis, France). Projet de recherche: théorie de l'approche sociologique de la littérature. 1980-1983 : Lecteur d'anglais à l'Université Paris 9 (Dauphine) 1983-88: Assistant associé d'anglais, Université Paris 6 (Pierre et Marie Curie), chargé de TD American College in Paris et Université Paris 9 (Dauphine). 1988-1991 : Maître de Conférences d'anglais, Université d'Orléans (IUT Bourges) et chargé de cours en littérature anglaise à l'Université de Paris 8. 1990-1991 : Professeur (en délégation) à San Diego State University. 1991-1998: Maître de Conférences d'anglais à l'Université de Paris 6. Chargé de cours à l'Université de Cergy-Pontoise en littérature américaine. 1998-2008 : Professeur à l'Université de Marne-la-Vallée (littérature des pays anglophones). Depuis septembre 2008 : Professeur émérite à l'Université Paris-EstMarne-la-Vallée. 2000-2006 : Directeur de l'équipe de recherche «Passeurs culturels et mécanismes de métissage ». 2006-2008 : responsable du groupe de recherche des anglicistes de l'UMLV (ANGLES). Membre d'IMAGER

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Activités administratives:

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1998-2008: Responsable de la formation LLCE anglais et du Master «Aires anglophones ». Responsable du programme d'assistanat dans les pays anglophones. Membre du Conseil de l'UFR et de la Commission de Spécialistes, lIe Section (entre 2004 et 2007 : Viceprésident). 2002-2007: membre élu du CEVU, Université Marne-la-Vallée. En dehors de l'UPEML V : Président de la commission de spécialistes, lle-14e sections, département de langues de l'Université Pierre et Marie Curie. Membre suppléant de la commission de spécialistes, lle-14e sections, du département de langues et littératures étrangères de l'Université de Versailles - St-Quentin.

***
Voici ce que Robert Sayre avait répondu au numéro 100 «Florilège» (numéro spécial d'anniversaire mai 2004) de la Revue Française d'Etudes Américaines à la question: « Comment êtes-vous tombé dans la
marmite des études américaines? »

Regarding my leap into the caldron of American studies, the least you could say is that the path leading up to it wasn't the one most travelled by. What's more, it was for a time a double path, like those US highways that have two numbers: two routes become one for a way, until at a certain point they diverge. The strangest part is that when they separated for me, I first chose one, then after a stretch took a side road off to the other... twice! Let me explain... American-born, in high school I fell under the nearly-equal sway of two exceptional teachers, one of French, one of English. Very different, each exuding in his own way a distinct cultural aura. When I arrived at the university with these two airs running through my head, I found I couldn't choose between them. Happily, my university allowed for... interdepartmental specialization. 15

So, I became a French-English major. Even in those years, though, there came a sign of the final direction l' d take: I chose to do an Honors thesis on James Baldwin. Following that impulse, I headed for graduate school in English and got my MA. But I took French courses on the side, and here the first reversal occurred. Finding the French professors more compelling, and having become a rabid francophile during a Junior-year abroad, I changed my tentative first choice of career. I now opted for the French path, doing a Ph.D. in that area and going on to teach it for some years in several American universities. Évidemment, tout n'était pas résolu pour autant. À un certain moment dans la suite de mes visites périodiques en France (en principe pour la recherche), je m'y suis arrêté pour de bon. Entre autres, pour me marier... Cette traversée de l'Atlantique en a déclenché une autre: je me suis engagé dans un chemin transversal vers les études anglicistes et américanistes dont je m'étais éloigné. En effet, au début de cette transition je réorientai mes intérêts de recherche vers les auteurs anglo-saxons plus généralement, en en associant certains aux Français qui me sollicitaient déjà. Malraux dans la guerre d'Espagne, par exemple, m'a conduit à Orwell en même temps qu'à Dos Passos et à Hemingway. À la fin, pourtant, les études américaines ont fini par l'emporter; si je ne suis pas revenu à l'étude de James Baldwin, j'ai retrouvé beaucoup de ses compatriotes... et certaines thématiques qui m'avaient déjà intéressé chez lui. Maintenant que j'enseigne les Scarlet Letter, Huck Finn et autres Gatsby, que je mène mes recherches sur Faulkner et sur les récits de voyage en territoire amérindien au XVIIIe siècle, que je suis membre bienheureux de l' AFEA depuis de longues années, je me rends compte qu'au fond c'était la France qui m'a poussé dans la marmite américaniste - et j'en suis ravi!

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Marie- Françoise ALAMICHEL (Université Paris Est [Marne-Ia- Vallée]) flY wull that...": les testaments dans l'Angleterre du ff siècle. Françoise BORT (Université Paris Est [Marne-la-Vallée]) Un héritage précédé d'aucun testament: Walter Berifamin et la question de l 'héritage. Elisabeth BOULOT (Université Paris Est [Marne-la-Vallée]) Gérer l 'héritage des réformes passées et réformer le système de santé américain. Politiques étatiques, propositions des candidats à la présidence. Robert BRAID (Université Paris Est [Marne-la-Vallée]) A New Legal Heritage. English Government in the Aftermath of the Black Death. Vincent BROQUA, (Université Paris Est [Paris 12]) Hériter de Shakespeare aux Etats-Unis. Olivier BROSSARD (Université Paris Est [Marne-la-Vallée)) La lecture en héritage: I 'œuvre poétique de Peter Gizzi. Florence D'SOUZA (Université Lille 3) Le difficile héritage colonial dans les littératures contemporaines de l'Inde - conflits & tensions. Joëlle HAREL (Université Paris Est [Paris 12]) L 'héritage des discriminations sexistes en Grande-Bretagne au ~ siècle. Rim MAKNI-BEJAR (Université Paris Diderot-Paris 7) The House Gun de Nadine Gordimer: la violence en héritage dans l'Afrique du Sud postapartheid 17

Amélie MOISY (Université Paris Est [Paris 12]) Quel héritage? Le don de prédiction dans « Anxiety» de Grace Paley et « Sea Oak» de George Saunders. Marie-Elise PALMIER-CHATELAIN (Université Paris Est [Marne-IaVallée ]) Innocent Abroad? William Jarvie et la tradition du voyage en Egypte. Marie-Claude PERRIN-CHEN OUR (Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense) L 'héritage d'Emerson dans la littérature féminine américaine. Rita RANSON (Université du Havre) L 'héritage des orthoépistes anglais des lumières. Gilles ROBEL (Université Paris Est [Marne-la-Vallée]) David Hume et l 'héritage celte en Ecosse au XVIIf siècle Catherine ROYER-HEMET (Université du Havre) Le patrimoine sermonnaire de la guerre de Cent Ans: du témoignage à l 'héritage. Nicole TERRIEN (Université de Rouen) Un héritage choisi: la relation du roman du IT siècle à celui du XIX siècle à travers l'exemple de Jean Rhys et de son héritière Jenny Diski. Etudiants de Master 1 « Aires Anglophones », séminaire de littérature du Commonwealth. 1. A Short Presentation of Zee Edgell 's works 2. Entretien avec Zee Edgell

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Moyen Age

A New Legal Heritage. English Government in the Aftermath of the Black Death

umerous cataclysms have befallen humankind since the dawn of time, but none as spectacular, or at least as catastrophic in terms of human lives, as the Black Death. In 1347, Genoese ships carrying the plague sailed back to Europe from the Black Sea, infecting various ports throughout the Mediterranean on their way. The epidemic swept rapidly across all of Europe, the Middle East and North Mrica from 1347 to about 1353, eliminating roughly half of the overall population.! Despite its distance from the Mediterranean, England was struck by the plague as early as June 1348, certainly owing to the heavy maritime traffic with the continent. 2 The epidemic first hit port towns and from there seeped more slowly into the countryside. Although other epidemics had certainly existed before the middle of the 14th century, in

N

1 Although his mortality figures are somewhat exaggerated, O. Benedictow offers a convenient survey of the spread of the Black Death throughout Europe. Ole Benedictow, The Black Death, 1346-1353, The Complete History, Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2004. Other surveys of the spread of the plague in Europe or specific regions include Charles Creighton, A History of Epidemics in Britain from AD 664 to the Extinction of Plague, Cambridge: University Press, 1891, in particular p. 178-186 on the Black Death; Francis Aidan Gasquet, The Great Pestilence (AD 1348-1349), Now Commonly Known as The Black Death, London: Simpkin Marshall, Hamilton, Kent, & Co., 1893; Philip Ziegler, The Black Death, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969 ; Jean-Noël Biraben, Les hommes et la peste en France et dans les pays méditerranéens, 2 vol., Paris: Mouton, 1975-1976; Samuel Kline Cohn, The Black Death Transformed: Disease and Culture in Early Renaissance Europe, London: Arnold, 2002. 2 F. A. Gasquet" The Great Pestilence, chaps. 5-9 ; P. Ziegler, The Black Death, p. 122124; S. Cohn, The Black Death Transformed, p. 142; O. Benedictow, The Black Death, p.l27.

21

ROBERT BRAID

England and elsewhere, none was as virulent as the Black Death.3 Within a few months after its initial eruption in any given location, the disease swept off roughly half of the population.4 Virtually no individual who contracted the disease survived, most usually dying within a day or two after the first symptoms appeared. Although it most certainly struck the weaker members of society in greater numbers, no sector of society was spared; the disease stuck down rich and poor, lay and derics, men and women, young and old.s The entire civilized world, from the British Isles to the Middle East, was affected by the epidemic and, by all accounts, suffered similarly.6 By the levels of mortality, the speed of transmission, its relatively egalitarian nature, and the vastness of the region affected, the Black Death can easily be considered an unprecedented catastrophe which, thankfully, has never been equaled since. Such a calamity obviously could not escape the observation of contemporaries. Numerous chroniclers commented on the spread and the effects of the Black Death.? Most exaggerated the mortality rates, many
3 For an extensive list of earlier outbreaks of epidemics in England, most of which followed periods of famine, see Ch. Creighton, A History of Epidemics in Britain, p. 1517. 4 Medieval demographic data are far from reliable for precise figures, in particular for aggregate rates, but mortality estimates typically range from 40% to 50% for most regions. For compilations and analysis of figures, see John Hatcher, Plague, Population and the English Economy, 1348-1530, London: Macmillan, 1977, p. 25; Andrew Hinde, England's Population. A History since the Domesday Survey, London: Arnold, 2003, p. 38-52. 5 Although two anthropologists, using questionable methods, have recently doubted the completely egalitarian nature of Black Death mortality, no one questions that the plague epidemic, unlike famine, struck down members of all levels of society. Sharon N. DeWitte & James W. Wood "Selectivity of Black Death mortality with respect to preexisting health", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 105, n. 5, 2008, p. 1436-1441. (, Michael W. DoIs, The Black Death in the Middle East, Princeton: University Press, 1977. 7 To cite only the chronicles from the British Isles: "A Fourteenth-Century Chronicle from the Grey Friars at Lynn", Antonia Gransden, ed., English History Review, 72, 1957, p. 270-278; Polychronicon Radulphi Higden Monachi Cestrensis, Churchill Babington & Joseph R. Lumby, eds., 9 vols., London, 1865-1886 (Rolls Series, 41) t. VIII, p. 344-346, 355; Chronicon Galfridi Ie Baker de Swynebroke, Edward Maude Thompson, ed., Oxford, 1889, p. 98-100; Anonimalle Chronicle (/333-1381), Vivian 22

A New Legal Heritage suggesting that up to 90% of the population had succumbed.8 Some commented on the swiftness and the painfulness of the disease.9 Witnessing the vastness and the brutality of the epidemic, a great number of observers considered the event as signaling the end of the world. John Clynn, an Irish monk who died of the plague himself, wondered whether any human being would survive.lo Some highlighted the effects that this epidemic had on people 's behavior. People fled from the infected and even from the objects that they had touched.II The most violent reactions, in particular flagellant movements and pogroms against Jews, swept across certain regions on the continent, but some violent outburst were also witnessed in England. Chroniclers and authorities lamented in particular the relaxed morals that seem to have been adopted by most people who witnessed the plague.12 Despite the horrors of the epidemic

Hunter Galbraith, ed., Manchester, 1927, p. 30; Chroniea Johannis de Reading et Anonymi Cantuariensis 1346-1367, James Tait, ed., Manchester, 1914, p. 106-110; Annales Monasterii de Bermundeseia (AD 1042-1432), Henry Richards Luard, ed., London, 1866 (Rolls Series, 36, 3), p. 475; The Brut or the Chronicles of England, Friedrich W. D. Brie, ed., 2 vols., London, 1906-1908 (Early English Texts Society, 131, 136), p. 303; The Chronicle of William Gregory, Skinner, James Gairdner, ed., London, 1876 (Camden Society, 17), p. 83; The Great Chronicle of London, Arthur H. Thomas & I. D. Thornley, eds., London, 1938, p. 38; The Chronicles of London, Charles Kingsford, ed., Oxford, 1905, p. 12; Robertus de Avesbury de Gestis Mirabilibus, Regis Edwardi Tertii, Edward M. Thompson, ed., London, 1889 (Rolls Series, 93), p. 406-407; Registrum Hamonis Hethe, dioeesis Roffensis, Charles Johnson, ed., London, 1948, p. 894-895 (Canterbury and York Society, 48), cited in Rosemary Horrox, The Black Death, Manchester: University Press, 1994, n° 34, p. 117-118; Annalium Hibernae Chronieon, R. Butler, ed., Dublin, 1849 (Irish Archaeological Society) p. 35-37, cited in R. Horrox, The Black Death, n° 23, p. 82-84; Chroniea Gentis Seotorum, William F Skene, ed., Edinburgh, 1871, 1. I, p. 368-369. The most important passages on the Black Death in Britain are conveniently translated into English in R. Horrox, The Black Death. S Chronieon Galfridi le Baker, p. 98; Polyehronieon Radulphi Higden, 1. VIII, p. 355; Chroniea Johannis de Reading, p. 110; Annalium Hibernae Chronieon, p. 36. 9 A Gransden, ed., "A Fourteenth-Century Chronicle", p. 274. 10Annalium Hibernae Chronieon, p. 37. 11Chroniea Gentis Seotorum, 1.I, p. 368-369; Chronieon Galfridi le Baker, p. 100. 12 Registrum Hamonis Hethe, p. 894-895; Chroniea Johannis de Reading, p. 110; Concilia Magnae Britanniae et Hiberniae, David Wilkins, ed., 4 vols., London, 1737, 1. III, p. 50-51, 135-136. 23

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and the effects that they had the behavior of men, soon after the crisis, contemporaries failed to observe any major structural changes in society. Historians as well have traditionally diminished the role of the Black Death in determining the course of social evolution. Only a handful of 19th-century historians have considered the Black Death as a major turning point in medieval society.13 Most point to the reversal of economic trends in the late 13thcentury as evidence that social structures had already shifted by the time the epidemic swept off half the population. The Black Death is thus portrayed as a mere accelerator of trends, not a factor that determined the course of events.14 Other scholars highlight dramatic shifts in the economy towards the end of the 14th century and have attributed these transformations to the successive waves of plague that reappeared every 15-20 years. Although they were much less lethal that the Black Death, these later outbreaks were successful at wiping out any demographic reserves thus hindering the population from recovering after the initial outbreak of plague in 1348.15 Although
13 Frederic Seebohm, "The Black Death and its Place in English History", Fortnightly Review, ii (1865), p. 149-160, p. 268-279; James E. Thorold Rogers, "England Before and After the Black Death", Fortnightly Review, 3 (1865-66), p. 191-196; Thomas W. Page, The End of Villeinage in England, New York, 1900; F. Gasquet, The Great Pestilence, p. xvi & p. 195. 14Ada E. Levett, The Black Death on the Estates of the See of Winchester, p. 142; Paul Vinogradoff, "Review of T. W. Page's The End of Villainage in England, p. 779; Eileen Power, "The Effects of the Black Death on Rural Organisation in England"; Eugeny Alexeyvich Kosminsky, Studies in the Agrarian History of England in the 13th Centry, translated from Russian by Ruth Kisch, Oxford, 1956; Michael M. Postan, Essays on Medieval Agriculture and General Problems of the Medieval Economy; J. Hatcher, Plague, Population and the English Economy, p. 31-32; Rodney H. Hilton, "A Crisis of Feudalism", The Brenner Debate: Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-Industrial Europe, Trevor H. Aston and C. H. E. Philpin, eds., Cambridge, 1976 (reed. 1985), p. 119-137; R. Hilton, The English Peasantry in the Later Middle Ages., Oxford, 1975. 15 John Saltmarsh, "Plague and Economic Decline in England in the Later Middle Ages", Cambridge Historical Journal, vii, 1 (1941), p. 23-41; James Bolton, The Medieval English Economy 1150-1500, London, 1980, p. 212-213; J. Bolton, "'The World Turned Upside Down'. Plague as an Agent of Economic and Social Change", in The Black Death in England, Mark Ormrod & Phillip Lindley, eds., Stamford (CT): Paul Watkins, 1996, 17-78, p. 78; Tim Lomas;, "South East Durham: Late Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries", in The Peasant Land Market in Medieval England, Paul D. A. 24

A New Legal Heritage historians have adopted new models to account for social and economic evolution in the last two centuries of the Middle Ages, very few have altered the basic view that the Black Death had only a minor impact on social, economic and political structures. This article seeks to argue that the Black Death did indeed have a major impact on English society, primarily through the legal precedent that the central government set in its attempt to maintain the balance of power in place prior to the crisis. Various measures were adopted during and after the epidemic in order to limit the most pernicious effects of the crisis on public order and, more importantly, on economic stability. The economic context created by a dramatically reduced population struck hard the economic interests of the ruling classes, who responded with a series of innovative legal measures that aimed at maintaining their revenues and their social and economic dominance over the lower orders. The balance of power that had developed over centuries, marked by economic and demographic growth, was severely compromised by the epidemic, and by attempting to return to the status quo ante authorities in fact created a new battery of legal instruments that were used repeatedly by generations of legislators afterwards to assert their dominance, even when the economic context no longer warranted such measures. The first section of this paper will examine the legal heritage on which the new measures were based. The second section will focus on the precise economic context of the Black Death. The third section will highlight the measures instituted by Edward III, his Council and Parliament to handle the crisis, setting a precedent which was inherited by future generations of law-makers.

Harvey, ed., Oxford, 1984, 253-327, 260-261; Anthony R. Bridbury, "The Black Death", Economic History Review, 2nP'ser., 26, 1973, 577-592, p. 578; Lawrence R. Poo s, A Rural Society After the Black Death: Essex, 1350-1525. Cambridge, 1991, p. 209; Simon A. C. Penn & Christopher Dyer "Wages and Earnings in late Medieval England: Evidence from the Enforcement of the Labour Laws", Economic History Review, 2ndser., 43, 1990, 356-376, p. 360. 25

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Legal precedents in regulating the economy In attempting to handle the demographic catastrophe, authorities based their reactions on what had been done in the past. The crisis gave them some flexibility to be innovative, but not total liberty to set up any policy they wished. They were also very pressed for solutions considering the magnitude and the unprecedented nature of the crisis and quite naturally turned to solutions that had already been tried and tested. It is thus necessary to examine the types of economic regulations that were in place prior to the plague in order to understand to what extent the ordinances set up immediately afterwards were innovative. Examples of economic regulations at the centrallevel were quite rare prior to the epidemic. From the earliest Anglo-Saxon dooms to later Anglo-Norman statutes, central authorities attempted to maintain honesty in commercial transactions,16 to create a legal framework to limit the mobility of serfs,17 and to establish a uniform system of currency, weights and measures throughout the realm,18 but these measures cannot be considered a means to ensure economic stability. The first real attempt to control prices and wages appeared in the assizes of bread, ale and wine. Henry II instituted the first regulations limiting the margins that bakers could demand for making bread.] 9 The price of bread was fixed at a farthing, the smallest monetary unit possible, but the weight was to fluctuate according to the market price of grain. The higher the price of wheat, the smaller the loaf should be, and vice versa, thereby ensuring that poor families could always buy at least one loaf of bread for a
16 Ancient Laws and Institutes of England ("Ancient Laws''), Benjamin Thorpe, ed., London, 1840, Edward the Elder (AD 901-924), p. 68-71, c. 1; Athelstan (AD 924-939), p. 83-96, I, 12, 13; Edward the Confessor (AD 1043-1066), p. 190-200, Libertas Civitatum 1; William I (AD 1066-1087), p. 201-214, III 10. 17Ancient Laws, Hlothhaere and Eadric of Kent (AD 673-686), p. 11-15, c. 15; Ine (AD 688-725), p. 45-65, c. 30, 39; Edward the Elder, p. 68-71, c. 10; Athelstan p. 83-96, c. 2, 8, 22; Cnut (AD 1017-1035), p. 153-184, c. 28; Edward the Confessor, p. 190-200, c. 23; William I, p. 201-214, I, c. 30, 48; Henry l (AD 1101-1135), p. 213-266, c. 8, ~ 5 and c. 43 ~ 2.
IR Ancient Laws, Edgar (AD 959-975), p. 109-118, c. 2-8; Ethelred (AD 978-1016), 119-149, V, 24, VI, 32; Cnut, p. 153-184, c. 9; William I, p. 201-214, III, 7. 19British Library (BL), ms Add. 14,252, f. 85v-86. 26 p.

A New Legal Heritage farthing, however small that loaf may be, and guaranteeing that bakers did not make undue profits on the sale of the basic staple of the medieval diet thanks to the highly volatile price of grain. Similar measures were taken by Henry II to control the price of wine.2o King John continued his father's policy of limiting wine prices, probably with the intention of increasing consumption of this imported product and thereby increasing royal revenues from the tax imposed on wine imports?! The most aggressive central attempts to regulate bread, ale and wine prices emerged during Henry III's reign. The most celebrated ordinance, Assisa Panis et Cervisie, dating from the early 1250s, reiterated the previously established principle of a set price for a loaf of bread and a flexible weight that fluctuated according to the market price of grain.22 It also established standard beer prices throughout the realm. This statute was renewed a decade later with new measures relative to its enforcement,23 and again in the 1370s.24 These last two statutes also included articles relative to the price of wine and the enforcement of the assize. Similar to the policy of the regulation of the price of bread, royal legislation relative to the price of ale and wine targeted the retail price of the product sold for consumption, not the price of the raw product (grain and malt, in the case of ale) or the wholesale price of imports (in the case of wine). The three Edwards pursued the same policy of capping the margins made by bakers, brewers and tavern-keepers. Although no new statutes on the sale of bread, ale or wine were promulgated, numerous writs record the attention that the Crown paid to the proper enforcement
20Although the ordinance itself is lost, the Pipe Rolls (royal accounting records) record the payment of fines for breach of the assize of wine as early as 1176. R Britnell, Commercialisation, p. 94. 21Alan David Francis, The Wine Trade, London, A. and C. Black, 1972, p. 78-79. 22BL, ms Cotton, Claudius, D II, f. 252v. A very similar version, though in French and with several variations in the figures, appears in London Metropolitan Archives (LMA), Liber Horn, f. 120v-121v. and another in Latin in Fleta, H. G. Richardson & G. O. Sayles (eds.), London, 1955, II, c. 9 et 10. See also Statutes of the Realm (SR), A. Luders, et al., eds., 11 vols., London, 1810-1828, 1. J, p. 199; Calendar of the Close Rolls preserved in the Public Record Office (CCR), H. C. Maxwell Lyte, ed., London, 1892-1908, vol. 1253-1254, p. 256, vol. 1254-1256, p. 94 & p. 173. 23"Judicium Pil/orie", BL, ms Cotton. Claudius D. II, f. 254; SR, 1.J, p. 201-202. 24 "Statutum de Pistoribus", LMA, Liber Horn, f. 121v.-122v.; BL, ms Cotton, Claudius, D II, ff. 240-242; SR, 1.J, p. 202-203. 27

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of the regulations and the occasional fine-tuning of the rates to adjust for particular market situations.25 Edward II also attempted to control the price of livestock and poultry in 1315, but this statute was revoked less than a year later, and never renewed.26 To these ordinances seeking to control the prices of certain products, or rather the margins of certain artisans, one may add general regulations, already common in the AngloSaxon period, proscribing transactions outside of official market places and times (a practice commonly referred to as forestalling) and controlling of coin, weights and measures. Overall, however, there was very little central control of markets; the few policies that were adopted at a central level were often based on earlier local measures and the authority to enforce these regulations was typically farmed out to local officials.27 The types of policy adopted at the locallevel depended primarily on the type of political structure in place and on the economic exchanges
25

CCR (1327-1330),p. 17 (10 March 1327); LMA, Letter Book E, f. 58; Calendar of

the Letter Books of the City of London A-L (CLB), Reginald R. Sharpe, ed., 11 vols., London, 1899-1912, E, p. 73 (22 January 1317); Letter Book E, f. 30v. (CLB, E, p. 44); Letter Book F, f. 66, 150v. (CLB, F, p. 83, 26 November 1342, p. 178, 12 February 1348). 26 BL, ms Cotton, Claudius, D II, f. 149v./133v (14 March); 150/134 (17 March); 150v/134v (17 April); Collection ofScarce and Valuable Tracts [...], Walter Scott, ed., 13 vols., London, 1809-1815, t. I, p. 6; Rotuli Parliamentorum ut et petitiones et placita in parliamento (Rot. Pari.), John Strachey, ed., 6 vols., London, 1767-1777, t. I, p. 295; Foedera, Conventiones, Literae, et Cujuscunque Generis Acta Publica, inter Reges Angliae ("Foedera"), Thomas Rymer, ed., 17 vols., London, 1704-1717, t. II, p. 263 & p. 266; Vita Edwardi Secundi, Monachi Cuiusdam Malmesberiensis, The Life of Edward the Second, by the So-called Monk of Malmesbury, N. Denholm- Young, ed., London, 1957,p.59. 27 Judith M. Bennett, Ale, Beer and Brewsters in England: Women's Work in a Changing World 1300-1600, Oxford, University Press, 1996, p. 99-100; Richard H. Britnell, The Commercialization of English Society 1000-1500, Cambridge: University Press, 1993, p. 26 & p. 94. For more in-depth analysis of these measures see: James Davis, "Baking for the Common Good: A Reassessment of the Assize of Bread in Medieval England", Economic History Review, 2nd ser., 57, 2004, p. 465-502; Alan S. C. Ross, "The Assize of Bread", Economic History Review, 2nd ser., 9, 1956-1957, p. 332-342; Gwen Seaboume, Royal Regulations of Loans and Sales in Medieval England 'Monkish Superstition and Civil Tyranny', Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2003, chap. 3; Gwen Seaboume, "Assize Matters: Regulation of the Price of Bread in Medieval London", The Journal of Legal History, 27, 2006, p. 29-52. 28

A New Legal Heritage carried out in the community. Village officials, usually acting under the authority of their lord though not necessarily in his presence, limited their intervention strictly to the enforcement of the royal regulations relative to bread, ale and forestalling. Many historians consider that the fines that were imposed against villagers for infractions represented primarily a method of taxing the activities of bakers, brewers and merchants rather than a means to deter fraudulent behavior. 28 In this case, it would be impossible to consider that the enforcement of these regulations represent any real attempt to regulate economic activity. Village officials also enforced feudal obligations, sometimes even on individuals who were not serfs. Many village courts fined individuals for refusing to work for wages during the harvest season or for leaving town during this period, and even banished the idle, but there is no evidence that any village government established wage rates.29 Urban governments, on the other hand, were extremely active in developing and enforcing regulations to control economic activity. London officials, in particular, intensely regulated and surveyed the commerce of staple products and even controlled the labor market.
2X

J. Bennett, Ale, Beer, and Brewsters in England, p. 101; Maryanne Kowaleski, Local

Market and Regional Trade in Medieval Exeter, Cambridge, University Press, 1995, p. 86; R. Britnell, Commercialisation, p. 175. Elspeth Veale, "The 'Great Twelve': Mistery and Fraternity in Thirteenth-Century London", Historical Research, 64, 1991, 237-263, p. 240. One could also, of course, argue that the public humiliation of being tried in a local court before all one's neighbors for selling bad ale or short-changing one's customers would have represented a significant deterrent regardless of the amount of the fine. 29 The Court Baron, Being Precedents for Use in Seignorial and other Local Courts, Frederic W. Maitland, ed., London, 1891 (Selden Society, 4), p. 143 & p. 146. Warren O. Ault, Open-field Husbandry and the Village Community: A Study of Agrarian Bylaws in Medieval England, Philadelphia, 1965 (Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, vol. 55, part 7), n° 13, p. 34 & p. 61; Court Rolls of Ramsey, Bury and Hepmangrove, 1268-/600, Edwin B. DeWindt, ed. & trans., Toronto: Pontificallnstitute of Mediaeval Studies Press, 1990, 1287:57, 60; 1295:92,93,96, 114; 1297[2]:4. Some historians have misinterpreted gleaning regulations for wage controls. W. Ault, Open-jield Husbandry, p. 15; W. Ault, "By-laws of Gleaning and the Problems of Harvest", Economic History Review, 2nd series, 14 (1961), 210-217, p. 213 & p. 217; Anthony Musson, "New Labour Laws, New Remedies? Legal Reaction to the Black Death Crisis", in Fourteenth Century England J, Nigel Saul, ed., Woodbridge, 2000, 7388, p. 73 & p.78. 29

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London municipal authorities enforced royallegislation on bread,30 ale/l and wine32 prices, but also developed tight controls to regulate the prices of meat and poultry,33 fish34 and furS.35 Municipal authorities ensured, however, that the price of grain was determined only by market forces and severely punished those who tried to upset them though deceitful practices.36 The mayor and aldermen were also involved in regulating guild activity and controlling the quality of production. The earliest example of wage ceilings in England comes from London. In the early 13th century, after a series of city-wide fires, when there was great demand for the services of construction workers to rebuild the city, local
BL, Add. 14,252, f. 118v.; LMA, Letter Book A, ff. 129v.-130 (CLB, A, p. 215-219); LMA, Liber de Assisa Panis. Liber Albus, i, p. 349-351 & p. 356-358; Munimenta Gildhallae Londoniensis: Liber Albus, Liber Custumarum et Liber Horn, Henry T. Riley, ed., 3 vols., London: Longman, Green, Longman & Roberts, 1859-1862 (Rolls Series, 12) Liber Custumarum., p. 105-106 & p. 284; The Eyre of London, 14 Edward 11 AD 1321, Helen M. Cam, ed., 2 vols., London, 1968-1969 (Selden Society, 85, 86), t. I, p. 14, p. 21 & p. 24. For details relative to the regulation of bread prices in London, see Gwen Seabourne, "Assize Matters: Regulation of the Price of Bread in Medieval London", The Journal of Legal History, 27, 2006, p. 29-52 31LMA, Letter Book A, ff. 129v.-130 (CLB, A, p. 215-219); Letter Book E, f. 57 (CLB, E p. 71); Letter Book F, f. 18v. (CLB, F, p. 27-28); Calendar of Plea and Memoranda Rolls preserved among the archives of the Corporation of the City of London a the Guildhall (CPMR), A. H. Thomas & P. E. Jones, eds., 6 vols., Cambridge, 1924-1961, t. I, p. 143; The Eyre of London (/321), p. 14, p. 21 & p. 24; Liber Custumarum., p. 285. 32 Chronicles of the Mayors and Sheriffs of London, AD 1188 to AD 1274 and The French Chronicle of London, AD 1259 to AD 1343, Henry Thomas Riley, ed. & trans., London, 1863, p. 27 & p. 43; The Eyre of London (/321), p. 14, p. 21 & p. 24; Liber Custumarum, p. 303; LMA, Letter Book E, f. 119v., 221 (CLB, E, p. 141, 261-262); CPMR, t. I, p. 120, p. 152, p. 219 & p. 204. 33Liber Custumarum, p. 82-83, p. 192-193 & p. 304-305; The Eyre of London (1321), p. 14, p. 21. LMA, Letter Book C, f. 82 (CLB, C, p. 134); Letter Book E, f. 30-30v. (CLB, E, p. 43-44); Letter Book F, f. 102 (CLB, F, p. 123). 34Liber Custumarum, p. 117-120 & p.192-193. 35Liber Albus, i, p. 719-720; LMA, Letter Book C, f. 50v. (CLB, C, p. 79); CEMCR, p. 92. 36 BL, Add. 14,252, f. 122; Liber Albus, i, p. 261-263; LMA, Letter Book A, f. 129v.130 (CLB, A, p. 215-219); Letter Book C, f. 40 (CLB, C, p. 58-59); Letter Book E, f. 44v., 157 (CLB, E, p. 56-57,196); Letter Book F, f. 81v., 139, 140 (CLB, F, p. 100-102, p. 165 & p. 166); Calendar of Early Mayor's Court Rolls, 1298-1307, Arthur H. Thomas, ed., Cambridge, 1924. (CEMCR), p. 59; CPMR, t. I, p. 115, p. 116 & p. 166. 30
30

A New Legal Heritage officials set the rates that masons, car.penters and other workers in the sector could charge for their services.3 Although the records that would record the enforcement of price and wage ceilings have not been preserved, other judicial records show that condemnations for infractions against economic regulations were often sanctioned by sentencing the offender to the pillory or the hurdle - public displays of the guilty party in the market place with a symbol of the misdeed. The fact that London officials sought to publicize the guilt of the offender, rather than simply collect numerous modest fines, suggests that they enforced the regulations to control economic behavior rather than to increase public revenues. Overall, the economic policy adopted by the municipal government of London sought to ensure honesty in commercial transactions (in particular for wheat) and to limit the prices of basic staples when supplies were scarce and certain services at moments of particularly high demand. Otherwise, the municipal officers allowed masters and servants to negotiate their own terms of employment, and let artisans and merchants negotiate the just price for a product with consumers. Immediate economic, social and political consequences of the Black Death The Black Death changed the economic context dramatically, at least in the short term, making existing regulations ineffective at maintaining economic stability. It took only a few months, after the introduction of the disease in any given community, for its population to decrease by roughly 50%. Although market trends certainly differed from one region to another, globally, the severe drop in the number of consumers pushed prices down. The price of wheat only dropped by 10% and that of cheese by 20%, relative to pre-plague averages, but average grain and cattle prices dropped by roughly a third, that of wool by 40%. Overall, in the year that the plague ravaged the country, a basket of basic staple products cost 30% less than it did prior to the epidemic. At the same time, the decrease in population, in addition to the panic produced
37

BL, Add. Ms. 14,252, 118v., 128v. Liber Custumarum,p. 86-88, p. 99-100 & p. 541543; LMA, Letter Book A, f. 88v. (CLB, A, p. 184).

31

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by the epidemic, caused a sharp decline in the number of workers available for hire. On average, cash wages increased by about 30% in the year that the plague swept through England, though this average varied greatly from one sector to another.38 This inverse movement of prices and wages caused a sharp increase not only in real wages, but also - and more importantly - in the relative cost of production. Large agricultural producers had to invest more in production without the assurance of being able to make up the investment in the sale of the final product. Added to this reduced margin was the problem of falling rents, on which large estates relied, caused by a severe drop in population and therefore in demand for land. Thus, large landowners would have been concerned about the profitability of their estates if trends were allowed to continue unchecked. Small producers would have fared better than before, however, as they could take advantage of lower rents to increase the size of their holdings. Wage-earners also may have improved their lot as prices fell and wages increased. But the immediate panic of the plague, the paralyzing fear of being infected and the emotional distress of losing half of one's family, friends and neighbors would have muted any material gains. Economic trends reversed quite quickly once the epidemic had subsided. Prices rebounded to their pre-plague levels by 1351, and although wages continued to increase, they were quickly outpaced by prices, placing wage-earners in a more precarious position than they were in even prior to the plague. Large producers could recuperate the cost of production in the sale of grain, but their overall revenues were threatened by declining rents. Tenures were filled, but on terms that were more favorable to peasants.39 High prices and low rents put small, independent
38 The data used to calculate these figures come from David L. Farmer, "Prices and Wages", in Agricultural HistOlY of England and Wales, Joan Thirsk, dir., Vol. II. 10421350, H. E. Hallam, ed., 716-817, Vol. III. 1348-1500, Edward Miller, ed., p. 431-525, Cambridge: University Press, 1988-1991. 39Rodney Hilton, Bond Men Made Free. Medieval Peasant Movements and the English Rising of 138/, London: Methuen, 1977, p. 153; Rosamond Faith, "Berkshire: Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries", in The Peasant Land Market in Medieval England, Paul D. A. Harvey, ed., Oxford, 1984, 107-178, p. 127; Mark Bailey, A Marginal Economy?, East Anglian Breckland in the later Middle Ages, London: Cambridge University Press, p. 225-226. 32

A New Legal Heritage farmers in an extraordinarily favorable position. Some think that their improved economic conditions led to greater self-esteem and ultimately to the Peasants' Revolt of 1381 in which they attempted to translate their economic gains into political advantages.4o It was not until the mid 1370s that prices once again began to fall, favoring workers whose wages remained high, and disadvantaging large producers who had to continue to pay high wages but who earned significantly less due to the drop in prices. In 1349, however, it was impossible to predict how the economy would evolve in the long term. Legislators sought short-term remedies to stabilize the market that had clearly gone off course in the year of the plague. But governments were not only, or even primarily, concerned with economic stability while the plague ravaged the county. It had never been an important function of government to regulate the economy prior to the epidemic; authorities were typically more intent on maintaining social order than market stability. In some regions, the devastating mortality caused by the epidemic gave rise to widespread acts of brutality. Particularly in German-speaking regions, but also in France, Spain, the Low Countries, and even in Italy, Jews were accused of causing the epidemic, typically by poisoning wells, rounded u~ and massacred, often even before the plague arrived in the community. 1 The plague also pushed some people to extreme forms of penance. Flagellant movements, originating in the Low Countries, moved from city to city, their members inflicting harsh punishment on themselves in order to placate the wrath of God, who had sent epidemic to Earth in retribution for men's sins, and to prepare their souls for eternal bliss.42 England, however, was largely spared from these extreme manifestations of violence. Since they had been officially exiled under Edward I, there were very few Jewish communities in England by the time the Black Death struck, and Edward III's wars with France also provided the
40John Hatcher, "England in the Aftermath of the Black Death", Past and Present, 144, 1994, p. 3-35. 41 Samuel Cohn, "The Black Death and the Burning of the Jews", Past and Present, 196,2007,3-36, p. 3-4 & p. 8; Philip Ziegler, The Black Death, p. 97-109. 42 For an overview of the flagellant movements, see Gordon Leff, Heresy in the Later Middle Ages: The Relation of Heterodoxy to Dissent c. 1250-c. 1450, Manchester: University Press, 1967,1. II, chapter 4; or Philip Ziegler, The Black Death, p. 87-97. 33

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English with a more identifiable target for their collective hatred. Moreover, the plague had already begun to subside by the time flagellant movements made it across the Channel, making such extreme acts of faith less appealing. Although collective psychological trauma did not manifest itself in the same way in England as on the continent, there is evidence of social unrest during the plague. In December 1349, Ralph of Shrewsbury and his congregation were attacked during a mass and held hostage by a group of men armed with bows, arrows and iron bars.43 The fear of contagion caused a group of parishioners to attack a monk of the priory of the Cathedral of Winchester who was burying a plague victim in the main cemetery, rather than outside the city walls.44 Soon after the plague had begun to wane, Edward III granted London officials special jurisdiction to maintain public order which had been severely compromised by the chaos provoked by the epidemic.45 Globally, however, historians recognize that the waves of violence that swept over the continent during the epidemic did not affect England to the same extent, though none haslrovided a perfectly satisfying explanation as to why this was the case.4 But it would be wrong to assume that English men and women maintained a stiff upper lip and carried on business as usual while the epidemic swept off their families, friends and colleagues. At the very least, they decreased productivity and consumed reserves, placing the country in a precarious economic situation. The Black Death also had a significant impact on political stability. Military campaigns were halted on account of the plague. The subsidy granted to Edward III in March 1348 for his wars with France was significantly more difficult to collect considering the massive losses in terms of human lives. The quarterly payments for grants of taxation on imports or exports to various individuals could not be made due to the
43 The Register of Bishop Ralph of Shrewsbury, Bishop of Bath and Wells, J329- 1336,
Thomas Scott Holmes, ed., 2 vols., London, 1896 (Somerset Record Society, 9-10), 1.II, f.596-597. 4 W. Lloyd Woodland, The Story of Winchester, p. 114; Calendar of the Patent Rolls (CPR), London, 1891-1982, 1. 1348-1350, p. 384-385 (20 June 1349). 45CPR (/348-1350), p. 459 (29 December 1349). 46P. Ziegler, The Black Death, p. 132-134.
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A New Legal Heritage severe reduction in trade during the epidemic.47 Special, and sometimes only temporary, waivers had to be granted to communities and individuals who were unable to pay their taxes immediately.48 The machinery of government slowed tremendously as judges, officials and administrators fell victim to the epidemic. Despite royal summons on two occasions to convene in Westminster in the first half of 1349, members of Parliament obstinately refused to make the journey due to the risk of contagion.49 King's Bench sessions had to be canceled in the summer of 1349 since there were not a sufficient number of lawyers available, or willing, to represent litigants.50 Even the Church had difficulty holding priests to their responsibilities, especially since this involved administering last rights to victims of the plague and bur;;ing their bodies, which exposed the clerics themselves to the disease. 1 Overall, however, Edward III managed to keep the royal administration functioning throughout the plague, to collect most of the subsidies that were due, and to make plans to renew military campaigns once the epidemic subsided.52
Central government's response to the crisis

One of the most celebrated pieces of legislation that resulted from the Black Death was what would come to be known as the Ordinance of Labourers, which was enacted by Edward III and his Council, on 18 June 1349, without any formal petition from Parliament.53 This Ordinance ordered all healthy-bodied individuals to accept any employment offered
47

48 CPR (1348-1350), p. 286, p. 295, p. 376, p. 428, p. 482, p. 488, p. 495, p. 563 & p. 579. 49Foedera, t. V, p. 655 & p. 658; CCR (1346-1349), p. 613-614; CCR (1349-1354), p. 1 &p.66. 50 CCR (1349-1354), p. 28. 51 Chronica Johannis de Reading et Anonymi Cantuariensis 1346-1367, p. 193; Concilia Magnae Britanniae et Hiberniae, t. II, p. 745-746. 52W. Mark Ormrod, "The English Government and the Black Death", in England in the Fourteenth Century: Proceedings of the 1985 Harlaxton Symposium, W. M. Ormrod, ed., Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 1986, p. 175-188. 53Ordinance of Labourers, Rotuli Literarum Clausarum, 23 Edw. III, PRO, C54/185, pt. I, m. 8 d. SR, t. I, p. 307-308. 35

CCR (1349-1354),p. 98-100 (21 April 1349).

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to them, forced workers to accept wages at rates practiced before the plague, forbade workers from leaving their masters and masters from hiring such fugitives, banned giving charity to the able-bodied, ordered food retailers to take only reasonable margins, and ordered priests to exhort parishioners to work diligently and to respect the Ordinance. This legislation, established during one of the greatest human disasters ever to hit England, marked a clear break with previous royal policy. Never before had the Crown or Parliament attempted to regulate the labor market. This is not to say, however, that the provisions of the Ordinance were simply invented for the occasion. A detailed examination of the provisions of this first Ordinance reveals that much of the wording and some of the basic principles were drawn directly from earlier London regulations. The terminology for workers that appears in the Ordinance is very similar to that used in the London ordinances on building wages. The article of the Ordinance limiting the profits that food retailers could take was strikingly more similar to London regulations than to the earlier royal assizes on bread, ale and wine. Even the penalties outlined in the Ordinance are similar to those imposed in London courts. In the heat of the moment, Edward III, who was unsuccessful in his attempts to convene Parliament in Westminster to address the problems caused by the plague, probably was able to get the mayor and aldermen of London to counsel him on how to handle an economic crisis. But Edward III did not simply content himself with copying municipal regulations from London and applying them on a realm-wide scale. Many of the provisions of the Ordinance of Labourers bear similarities to local by-laws in rural communities as well as to Church doctrine. One of the most important articles of the Ordinance forbade workers from leaving their masters and forced all unemployed hands to accept work contracts at fixed wages. Although village governments had never attempted to control wages, there are ample examples of local bylaws restricting worker mobility, imposing labor on villagers, both free and bond, and condemning idleness. It would be unwise, however, to assume that, in the midst of a crisis of unprecedented magnitude, the Crown was inspired by by-laws drawn up in small villages scattered about the realm. It is much more likely that both royal and village

36

A New Legal Heritage regulations were inspired by common notions of feudal obligations. Elements of the Ordinance of Labourers also seem to have been inspired by Church doctrine. The article forcing the unemployed to accept work was backed by centuries of theological writings condemning idleness. The provision forbidding offering alms to healthy-bodied beggars also finds corollaries in theological texts.54 This is not to say that there are no elements of earlier royal policies to be found in the Ordinance. Indeed, the enforcement of the provisions was to be carried out by officials who were already in place, in particular sheriffs, bailiffs and local lords. The maximum age for mandatory service for laborers, 60 years, was the same as for soldiers in the royal army prior to the epidemic. Moreover, Edward III had already attempted to impose statutes regulating the ethical behavior of the humblest of his subjects. In 1336, faced with the perceived imminent threat of invasion from Philippe VI of France, Edward III forbade any of his subjects from eating meat more than twice a day in order liberate valuable resources needed for the war effort, a method that finds echoes in post-plague legislation.55 But the Crown had never been particularly engaged in the regulation of economic affairs until the epidemic wiped out almost half of the population, creating a radically new context that warranted royal intervention. Overall, the new legislation enacted to limit the economic impact of the plague had a mixed heritage, incorporating primarily municipal economic regulations from London and commonly accepted notions of social and moral obligations that were previously imposed by village or ecclesiastical courts. The Ordinance of Labourers was only the first of a long series of laws enacted by the central government to regulate market activity. Since such measures had never been adopted at the central level to be applied
54 For a detailed analysis of theological texts condemning alms-giving to individuals who were physically capable of working, see Brian Tierney, Medieval Poor Law. A Sketch ofCanonical Theory and Its Application in England, Berkeley (CA): University Press, 1959, p. 44-65. 55 10 Edw. III (1336), stat. 3, SR, t. I, p. 278-280. There is no clear evidence, however, that this statute was enforced, or even taken seriously. Edward tried to regulate the types of clothing that individuals from different classes could wear after the second outbreak of plague in 1361, but primarily so that one's class could easily be seen, not to liberate resources for war. 37 Edw. III (1363), c. 8-15, SR, t. I, p. 378-383. 37

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throughout the realm, certain modifications had to be made in order to make them effective. In fact, the immediate economic upheaval caused by the epidemic was so great that no policy would have been easy to implement, but Edward III seemed determined to have his new policy respected. Only five months after the enactment of the initial Ordinance, Edward and his Council were fine-tuning the policy. No doubt in response to the difficulties experienced during the quarterly collection of the tenth and fifteenth, due on Michaelmas (29 September), Edward and his Council decided to use fines coming from the enforcement of the Ordinance of Labourers for tax relief in the community in which the fine was collected.56 This and other amendments were adopted in the Statute of Labourers, which was enacted as a result of the parliamentary sessions of February 1351.57 This new legislation added harsher corporal punishment for offenders, indicated precise rates for certain trades, set stricter limits on worker mobility, prohibited payment in kind, forced many agricultural workers to accept long-term contracts, obliged contacts to be concluded in public, and made workers use their own tools. But the provisions on the Statute of Labourers do not represent any radical shift from the previous legislation, they were merely ways to make it more effective. Such amendments appeared regularly for the rest of the Middle Ages: reiterations of or modifications to the initial legislation were enacted on average once every five years for the next two centuries. Although the Ordinance and Statute of Labourers were repealed under the Tudors, it is absolutely clear that they served as the basis for the Statute of Artificers, one of the major pieces of legislation of the 16th century.58
56 Rotuli Literarum Clausarum, 23 Edw. III, PRO, C60/150, m. 14. Edited in Bertha Haven Putnam, The Eriforcement of the Statutes of Labourers During the First Decade after the Black Death 1349-1359, New York: Columbia University Press, 1908, Appendix, p. 258-261. See also Calendar of the Fine Rolls preserved in the Public Record Office, H. C. Maxwell Lyte et. al., eds., 20 vols., London, 1911-1949, t. VI, p. 188-189.
57

Magnus Rotulus Statutorum in Turr. Land., PRO, C74/1, m. 18; Rotuli

Parliamentorum, 25 Edw. III, part l, n. 56; SR, t. l, p. 311-313, Rot. ParI., t. II, p. 233234; Parliament Rolls of Medieval England, 1275-1504, Chris Given-Wilson, ed., 16 vols., London, 2005, t.V, p. 28-30; CLB, F, p. 232. 58Statute of Artificers, 5 Eliz. I(1563), c. 4-18, 30-32, 36-40, SR, t. IV-I, p. 414-422. 38

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