The Drama of Masculinity and Medieval English Guild Culture by C. Fitzgerald

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By C. Fitzgerald

This learn argues that past due medieval English 'mystery performs' have been approximately masculinity up to Christian theology, modes of devotion, or civic self-consciousness. played time and again through generations of retailers and craftsmen, those Biblical performs produced fantasies and anxieties of heart category, city masculinity, lots of that are wide-spread this day.

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68 For most manufacturing artisans, a highly structured guild was not practical or entirely necessary. More important to the practice of a craft in late medieval cities was the “freedom” of that city. ”72 By 1400, if a craftsman wanted to practice his occupation free of tolls—particularly if he wanted to sell goods— he had to purchase the freedom. )73 Even crafts that had been previously excluded from the freedom show practitioners being admitted in large numbers in York from the 1330s on. The exact reasons for such a change in the meaning and administration of the freedom remain a matter of speculation, but certainly the extension of the franchise provided greater revenues for city coffers, and thus for civic projects such as the cycle plays.

94 The “guild” was not a tightly organized community, club, or secret society, but a loose bureaucratic and civic designation deployed by mechanisms of power. Occasionally, guild ordinances speak of duties such as helping impoverished members or paying for members’ funerals. Such clauses seem particularly common in Lincoln guilds, as in the ordinances of the Gild of the Tailors, which make arrangements for a seven-pence weekly allowance for any member who has fallen into poverty—out of which he must still discharge any payments owed to the guild.

Indeed, as Ruth Mazo Karras argues, A man could do the same kind of work whether married or not, and his legal status did not depend upon his marriage, but his ability to become a master craftsman, and his participation in artisanal masculinity, did depend heavily on it. 125 A wife could also be a crucial part of her husband’s industry and workforce, given that she was a more stable member of the household than her children. Often wives did contribute to the work of their husbands’ professions.

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