Ok, so much for not posting. I learned late yesterday that I’ll be presenting a paper at the Cornell Medieval Studies Student Colloquium in February! It will be really nice to see my Cornell friends again, and to dig into chapter 4 of my dissertation (which is what this paper will present, in essence). Also, since good things seldom come by themselves, I just learned that my friend Megan Morris was accepted to the British Women Writers’ Conference at THE Ohio State University this coming spring! Way to go Ms. Morris!!!
For the curious, below is the proposal I sent to Cornell. It should give a good impression of how I’m combining military and economic records with cultural and political ones to reinterpret Edward III’s reign…at least, that’s what I think I’m doing!!
The Political Recovery of Edward III, 1341-1346:
The View from the Counties
Daniel P. Franke
University of Rochester
The standard narrative of Edward III’s early reign (best represented by W. Mark Ormrod’s and Ian Mortimer’s respective works) is usually presented as a tale of, to paraphrase Parzival, “a good man slowly wise.” After the constitutional crisis of 1341, Edward revitalized his realm and his political fortunes by re-thinking his domestic agenda and downsizing his military endeavors, until he was ready once again to try his fortunes at arms in France. The result, of course, was his victory at Crécy in 1346, and the subsequent flood of royal propaganda solidifying Edward’s position as a special king, and England as a special realm. My paper interrogates this narrative, seeking to better understand the English polity between 1341 and 1346 through the military and economic experience of the counties engaged in Edward’s campaigns. This varied, naturally, from county to county, and I focus here on East Anglia, a region socially and economically diverse, and which also proved crucial to the English war effort of the 1340s. For much of this period, I argue, the inhabitants of East Anglia would have detected little change in royal policies or military demands, as resistance to both continued unabated from the period of “crisis”—ship captains of Great Yarmouth, for example, were among the most forward in resisting demands for naval service, and royal logistical demands on Norfolk and Suffolk continued unabated. These circumstances indicate that the causes and context of Edward’s political “recovery,” and the popular perception of that recovery, need to be reinterpreted and located within regional communities, and not simply analyzed at the level of royal policy. Ultimately, the difference between “crisis” and “recovery” is to be found in the cultural effects of Edward’s military victory, which, memorialized in such artifacts as the Hastings Brass, transformed public perception of war burdens that had remained at consistent levels for nearly a decade.