History, Department of


Date of this Version

Spring 1999


Published in The Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. 30, No. 1 (Spring, 1999), pp. 251-252 Copyright © 1987 The Sixteenth Century Journal. Used by permission.


Barbara Hanawalt presents her audience with an engaging and thoughtful set of interlocking essays that will be of interest to scholars in a variety of disciplines and yet is also accessible to students. In her acknowledgments, Hanawalt expresses her appreciation to her colleagues in literature who have helped her to read medieval texts-whether literary or historical-with a more critical eye, and Hanawalt's subtle readings of a wide range of late medieval English texts beautifully demonstrates how well a historian can use what she has learned &om other disciplines. She demonstrates her awareness of voice and of the importance of the shaping strategies of narratives.The overarching theme that ties her essays together is the importance of reputation [repute as in the title]. Some of her essays concern themselves specifically with late medieval London, while others are more broad ranging in looking at the distinctions between urban and country life. She continually explores the impact of law on individuals and the community. Unlike some scholars who use gender as another term for talking exclusively about women, Hanawalt is concerned about both women and men's experience, and the diEerences that cultural expectations about sex roles make. ... Hanawalt's study is an excellent one that should find a wide audience of readers. Scholars and students, literary critics and historians, will all find this book of value.

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