The Mind's Eye: Reconstructing the Historian's Semantic Matrix Through Henry Knighton's Account of the Peasants' Revolt, 1381
Keeshan, Sarah Marilyn Steeves
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The medieval historian engaged with the systems of power and authority that surrounded him. In his account of the Peasants' Revolt in late medieval England, the ecclesiastical historian Henry Knighton (d. 1396) both reinforced and challenged the traditional order. This thesis explores the ways in which his ideological perspectives shaped his understanding of the events of June 1381 and how this understanding was articulated through the structure, language, and cultural meaning of the historical text. The reconstruction of authorial intention and reclamation of both Knighton and the medieval reader as active participants in the creation of history challenge a historiography that has long disregarded Knighton as an unremarkable historical recorder. Instead, they reveal a scholar whose often extraordinary approach to the rebels and traditional authorities expresses a great deal about the theory, practice, and construction of power and authority in late medieval England.