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Fiefs and Vassals
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About the Author

Susan Reynolds is Emeritus Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. She is the author of An Introduction to the History of English Medieval Towns (OUP, 1977; CPB 1982), and Kingdoms and Communities in Western Europe 900-1300 (OUP, 1984; CPB 1986). She lives in London SW.

Reviews

``utterly absorbing and important. If Dr Reynolds's arguments are accepted, then most textbooks on medieval history will have to be recalled for repair like defective washing-machines ... Dr Reynolds's superb book is bound to generate much scholarly debate.'' Observer `Offers a broad set of criteria through which to analyse the evidence, in order to establish the nature of social status and relationships...In establishing her negative conclusion, the inadequacy of the feudo-vassalic orthodoxy, she is triumphantly successful. She is also vividly persuasive in her depiction of the gradual transformation of localised societies based on a great diversity of customs.' History Today ``this is a quietly original re-examination of the medieval world and of the feudal system in particular. "It has the austerity, compression and concentration of Sibelius's Fourth Symphony" (Stuart Airlie)' Observer `the reader's way is greatly eased by a lucid, engaging style that avoids jargon and any attempt at deconstructive methodology. Undoubtedly it will form a watershed in our understanding of medieval society.' The Historian `'For once the hype is worth attending to: this is a quietly original re-examination of the medieval world and of the feudal system in particular.'' The Observer ``she clarifies this feudal business so thoroughly that it ought now to be possible for the first time to discuss it without talking nonsense. ... anyone who understands the title ought to read the book. It will be bought by university libraries.'' The Spectator ``a book whose intellectual courage is as stirring as its range is wide and its scholarship deep. There have been none that so meticulously examines its manifestations in nearly all major medieval contexts.'' Times Literary Supplement `Dr Reynolds pits her formidable resources of learning, subtlety and not least common sense. Her...book sets out to show how it simply is not true that medieval society was organised or even envisaged in accordance with the feudal principles at any date until long after what historians regard as their heyday...she substitutes an alternative, more modulated and so inherently more plausible model of the history of the relationships in question...This, then, is a book whose intellectual courage is as stirring as its range is wide and its scholarship deep.' The Times Literary Supplement `Susan Reynolds gained our enduring respect in 1984 with her magisterial Kingdoms and Communities in Western Europe, 900-1300, and now with this work, her reputation will only be enhanced......Reynolds uncovers a plethora of items for further research that will keep scholars busy on important topics for a long time..... Those of us who have merely picked away at the feudal Middle Ages in our articles and books are immeasurably in her debt for this heroic effort.' Albion `Reynolds uncovers a plethora of items for further research that will keep scholars busy on important topics for a long time ... her contribution is massive and dominating in its breadth and depth. Those of us who have merely picked away at the feudal Middle Ages in our articles and books are immeasurably in her debt for this heroic effort.' Bernard S. Bachrach, University of Minnesota, Albion `Our champion is mightily armed: the learning and erudition that Dr Reynolds has at her disposal may be seen not just in the substantial bibliography but on every page of this long (and very attractively priced) book.' Roger Collins, University of Edinburgh, History `the reader's way is greatly eased by a lucid, engaging style that avoids jargon and any attempt at deconstructive methodology ... Undoubtedly it will form a watershed in our understanding of medieval society.' Richard Kay, University of Kansas, The Historian `The underlying thesis, sustained with verve and learning, is that much early medieval evidence has been given a misleading juridical coherence ... the book should make us far more sensitive both to vocabulary and to our own preconceptions.' Timothy Reuter, University of Southampton, Early Medieval Europe 1996 5(2)

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