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Chapitre D'ouvrage Année : 2024

“The truth is no slander”: Frank speaking and defamation in a late medieval English town

Résumé

Until recently, defamation litigation has seemed to fit most naturally into one of two historiographical streams. First, an Anglo-American historiography interested in gender and ‘social control’ tends to stress the normative intention of defamation litigation: how it maintained social and gendered hierarchies. Second, a Franco-American tradition stresses how individuals tried to use courts to defend their reputation or fama. More recently, work on the free speaking amongst citizens of English towns who were not part of the ruling elite suggests a different approach, one which accommodates transgression and risk. Earlier, non-church court jurisdictions allow us to see how urban elites, citizens and non-citizens both sued when they were insulted or assaulted, but also did not hesitate to insult or assault others in return. Frank-speaking and violence in response to an insult were not rights, since they were legally actionable, but they were regularly practiced at all levels of urban society, as men and women spoke out with the sole justification that they spoke the truth.

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Dates et versions

hal-04352339 , version 1 (19-12-2023)

Identifiants

  • HAL Id : hal-04352339 , version 1

Citer

Christopher Fletcher. “The truth is no slander”: Frank speaking and defamation in a late medieval English town. Veldhuizen, Martine; Haemers, Jelle; Raffe, Alasdair; Dumolyn, Jan. Free Speech in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, Routledge / Taylor & Francis, 2024. ⟨hal-04352339⟩
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