Taking their inspiration from the work of Thomas N. Bisson, to whom the book is dedicated, the contributors to this volume explore the experience of power in medieval Europe: the experience of those who held power, those who helped them wield it, and those who felt its effects. The seventeen essays in the collection, which range geographically from England in the north to Castile in the south, and chronologically from the tenth century to the fourteenth, address a series of specific topics in institutional, social, religious, cultural, and intellectual history. Taken together, they present three distinct ways of discussing power in a medieval historical context: uses of power, relations of power, and discourses of power. The collection thus examines not only the operational and social aspects of power, but also power as a contested category within the medieval world. The Experience of Power suggests new and fruitful ways of understanding and studying power in the Middle Ages.
'The theme of the book provides a provocative means to consider medieval topics with fresh techniques and insights.' Church History ’… without a single weak link, the essays here testify to Bisson's influence over an entire generation of scholars, extending his work on Spain, lordship, power and representation in new and often fascinating directions.’ English Historical Review
Contents: Introduction, Robert F. Berkhofer III, Alan Cooper and Adam J. Kosto. Part I The Use of Power: Heirs to the Apostles: saintly power and ducal authority in hagiography of early Normandy, Samantha Kahn Herrick; The provisions of Oxford: assessing/assigning authority in time of unrest, Claire Valente; Abbatial authority over lay agents, Robert F. Berkhofer III; Good servants, bad lords: the abuse of authority by Jewish bailiffs in the medieval Crown of Aragon, Elka Klein; Lordship and coinage in EmpÃºries, ca. 1080-ca. 1140, Stephen P. Bensch; Signum meum apposui: notaries and their signs in medieval Languedoc, Alan Friedlander. Part II Power Relations: A charter of Oliba from before his entry into religious life, Paul Freedman; Inheritance of power in the house of Guifred the Hairy: contemporary perspectives on the formation of a dynasty, Nathaniel L. Taylor; Transformations in the power of wives and widows near Montpellier, 985-1213, Elizabeth Haluska-Rausch; Protestations of ignorance in Domesday Book, Alan Cooper; Hostages and the habit of representation in 13th-century Occitania, Adam J. Kosto. Part III Discourses of Power: Abbas and Rex: power and authority in the literature of Fleury, 987-1044, Frederick S. Paxton; Power, personality-and perversity? Robert of Arbrissel (ca. 1045-1116) and his critics, Bruce L. Venarde; Lords and monks: creating an ideal of noble power in monastic chronicles, Jennifer Paxton; The lordship of jongleurs, Carol Symes; Marian monarchy in 13th-century Castile, Amy G. Remensnyder; The re-experience of medieval power: tormented voices in the haunted house of empiricism, Simon R. Doubleday. Index.