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The thorough and consistent nature of this study means that Valente is then well-equipped to draw out the implications of different revolts and to make connections between the results of one revolt and the beginning point of another. Particularly interesting in Valente's work is that way that she traces revolt as a political tool and observes the increasing tension over time between what nobles perceived as 'resistance' to poor rule, and what monarchs sought to define as 'treason'.

04.01.38, Valente, The Theory and Practice of Revolt in Medieval England

Consequently she presents as a time when force was used to defend reform, and sees this period as establishing 'a model for limited use of force to call the king back to his promises of reform' p. The period is then seen as 'the fullest flowering of constructive revolt in medieval England' p. Despite the role of personality in these shifts, Valente is also clear in her assessment that: 'Although personal flaws and enmities help explain whether crises happened, they cannot explain the changing form those crises took' p.

The breadth of Valente's work thus provides an opportunity to contextualize reform, to explore the development of parliament and the function of parliament within other established patterns of reform, and an insight into the political dynamics, which resulted in the extreme reform apparent in the depositions of Edward II and Richard II.


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My one disappointment with the book is that it talks only briefly about the revolt of Valente notes that this revolt: 'is not directly comparable to the other periods because of the lack of noble leadership' p. While this is a fair point and everyone must stop their book somewhere it seems a shame that Valente's depth of understanding of the dynamics that shaped late medieval politics was not fully applied to an interpretative understanding of the aims and outcomes of this revolt. Is it possible that the peasantry, after centuries of watching the nobility get what they wanted through resistance, sought to use the same tactics?


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Main Article Content

Her quest was to explore a particular aspect of violence in English political life, and to understand those episodes when the nobles of England engaged in war against their king. While there was always a strong desire for lawful governance and cooperation between king and nobles, as Valente states, there were episodes of political violence.

Learning and Work in Medieval England

Valente wanted to clarify the mentalite and political principles of the nobility when they took to war against their king. Six periods of violent action against the king are examined.

Norman Britain

The era of Magna Carta was the first time violence had been employed to establish a reform in law and government, with the Author: A. Compton Reeves. Date: June 22, From: Albion Vol.