Home WakeSpace Scholarship › Electronic Theses and Dissertations

"The murmure and the cherles rebellying": Poetic and Economic Interpretations of the Great Revolt of 1381

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Item Files

Item Details

abstract
Recent scholarship on the Great Revolt of 1381 and its literary interpretations successfully shows the importance of text around moments of cultural shifting. However, many of these studies refrain from considering economic influences on poetry. Furthermore, there has been no scholarship on the Harley lyrics and their foreshadowing of the Revolt. Applying both a Marxist and a Cultural Materialist method to four of the Harley 2253 lyrics and three Chaucerian tales, I argue that the poetry encapsulates the economic and political changes that took place before the Revolt. The increase in wage-restriction, taxation, labor laws, and the dispossession of individuals from their means of production contributed to the rebels’ discontent; this period in English history marks a change in lower class identity and formations of class and political consciousness. By considering the lyrics from British Library MS Harley 2253, I investigate the influence of a burgeoning market-economy on the lower classes, who recognized these changes and were constricted by upper class oppressive ideology. Chaucer’s Shipman’s Tale coincides with this same mercantile ethos, and demonstrates the subordination of personal relationships to monetary transactions. His Physician’s Tale and Nun’s Priest’s Tale can be conceptualized as poetic interpretations of the 1381 Revolt itself. What can be discovered, is that these tales embody rebellion at multiple levels, revealing the “political unconscious,” in Frederic Jameson’s words, that is inherent to all literary texts.
subject
1381
Chaucer
Harley Lyrics
Lyrics
Marxism
Revolt
contributor
Noell, Ann Marie (author)
Sigal, Gale (committee chair)
Overing, Gillian (committee member)
Hogan, Sarah (committee member)
O'Connell, Monique (committee member)
date
2019-05-24T08:35:48Z (accessioned)
2019-05-24T08:35:48Z (available)
2019 (issued)
degree
English (discipline)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/93973 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
title
"The murmure and the cherles rebellying": Poetic and Economic Interpretations of the Great Revolt of 1381
type
Thesis

Usage Statistics