6 Chapter 5 The spoken word Vagabonds and minstrels in sixteenth-century Wales Vagabonds and minstrels in sixteenth-century Wales Richard Suggett T hroughout much of late medieval and early modern Europe, from Poland and Russia in the east to Wales and Ireland in the west, itinerant minstrels entertained noble and plebeian audiences. Wandering entertainers may well have provided (as Burke has suggested) one of the unifying elements within European popular culture. A pan-European tradition of minstrelsy, crossing social and cultural boundaries, is an

in The spoken word
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Oral culture in Britain 1500–1850
Editors: Adam Fox and Daniel Woolf

Human beings have developed a superabundance of ways of communicating with each other. Some, such as writing, are several millennia old. This book focuses on the relationship between speech and writing both within a single language, Welsh, and between two languages, Welsh and English. It demonstrates that the eighteenth-century Scottish clergy used the popular medium of Gaelic in oral and written form to advance the Gospel. The experience of literacy in early modern Wales was often an expression of legal and religious authority reinforced by the spoken word. This included the hearing of proclamations and other black-letter texts publicly read. Literate Protestant clergymen governed and shaped the Gaelic culture by acting as the bridge-builders between oral and literary traditions, and as arbiters of literary taste and the providers of reading material for newly literate people. The book also offers some illustrations of how anecdotes became social tools which used to make points not only in private correspondence but also in civil conversation in early modern England. Locating vagabonds and minstrels, and other wanderers on the margins of settled society depended on the survival of the appropriate historical record. Cautionary tales of the judgements God visited upon flagrant and incorrigible sinners circulated widely in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England: stories of sabbath-breakers, swearers, drunkards, adulterers and other ungodly livers struck down suddenly by the avenging arm of the Almighty. During the age of Enlightenment, intellectual culture nourished a new understanding of non-literate language and culture.

Feijoo versus the ‘falsely possessed’ in eighteenth-century Spain

whose virtue God wished to demonstrate in this way.20 Having acknowledged the slight possibility of real possession by the Devil, Feijoo threw himself wholeheartedly into his real objective: to expose the falseness of the majority of the possessed. His Manichaestic zeal in separating true from false was not at all new. Throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries many essayists struggled to differentiate true from false astrologers,21 authentic alchemists from impostors,22 and even the genuinely poor from the pretenders and the vagabonds,23 to name just some

in Beyond the witch trials

interaction is replaced by ‘interdictory spaces’ that keep the polarities apart, and partly virtual: the electronic database centres itself within these exclusionary dynamics, e.g. credit ratings determine our degree of mobility/weightlessness or immobility/density (Fitzpatrick, 1999b). Globalisation therefore represents a structural distinction between two worlds that only appear to inhabit the same ontological field: the cosmopolitan elites (the tourists) live primarily in time, moving effortlessly through geographical and electronic borders; the excluded (the vagabonds

in After the new social democracy
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Better ‘the Hottentot at the hustings’ than ‘the Hottentot in the wilds with his gun on his shoulder’

means, more White inhabitants to settle here’. Owen’s concern was, by these means, to provide ‘a more equal balance of powers of the Black and White population’. The government should control more strictly those Africans who remained in the district after this removal, encouraging them to abandon ‘their barbarous customs’ and ‘idle, vagabond, pastoral life’, and acquire proper

in Equal subjects, unequal rights
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The life and times of Jean-Jacques Rousseau

.S. Eliot, ‘is someone who establishes a culture’ (Eliot 1975: 402). Few others than Plato, Virgil and Christ (and the latter, arguably, had unfair parental support!) can lay claim to this status. As one scholar has put it, ‘In our time Rousseau is usually cited as a classic of early modern political philosophy. He is more than that: he is the central figure in the history of modern philosophy and perhaps the pivotal figure in modern culture as a whole’ (Velkley 2002: 31). Rousseau belongs to the noble few. Reviled and ridiculed, liked or loathed, the Swiss vagabond, who

in The political philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
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Criminality during the occupation

soldiers from September to October 1915. Strikingly, the accusers were the soldiers themselves. The defence, led by M.  Spéder, the interpreter at the Mairie, rubbished these claims. Spéder argued that the ‘soldiers’ were in fact vagabonds who had been convicted before and during the occupation. Labelling them as ‘deserters’ from the French army, Spéder explained how their previous criminal record exempted them from being in the army. He purported that their motivation for denouncing Willerval was survival:  they presented themselves to the Germans as French soldiers and

in The experience of occupation in the Nord, 1914– 18
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immobile subjects can also take insight from Bauman’s (1998) critique of globalization. Bauman excoriates the growing gap between mobile and immobile worlds, and the ensuing hierarchy established between consumer-tourists of the first world and the vagabonds of the second. Bauman makes the following claim: The inhabitants of the first world, i.e., the global elite, live in a perpetual present, going through a succession of episodes hygienically insulated from their past as well as their future. These people are constantly busy and perpetually “short of time” since each

in A table for one

speaking world through the vogue for the ‘politically correct’ and ‘multiculturalism’ now dominant in certain faculties of several major American universities … The malignant magic of the grand charlatan is liable to be with us for some time. (O’Brien 2002: 315) Rarely has an erudite man been more misinformed. Rousseau was many things; a vagabond, a note-copier, a poet, a composer, a pedagogue and a political scientist but he was never a multiculturalist, and he certainly did not go along with the liberal secularism of the so-called politically correct. Of course many

in The political philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau

dislocation swelled the ranks of so-called masterless men who were forced to take to the roads of the country in search of gainful employment. 18 More than the poor who fell within the cold embrace of the poor law, ‘vagabonds and incorrigible rogues’ were potent symbols of transgression in a society that increasingly valorized Protestant virtues of hard work, thrift, order and personal responsibility

in The other empire