3rd block/English 12
Historical criticism explores the historical, social, political, and cultural contexts surrounding the creation and reception of a work of literature; it uses history as a means of understanding a literary work more clearly. Historicists aim simultaneously to understand the work through its historical context and to understand cultural and intellectual history through literature. For example, A Walk with Love and Death, written by Hans Koning tells the story of two lovers Claudia and Heron during the Hundred Years War. As Claudia and Heron travel readers get a feel of what life must have been like for the lovers. In A Walk with Love and Death, historic elements from the Hundred Years War such as the Black Plague, political events, and historic places shaped the story of Heron and Claudia during the Middle Ages.
As the story begins we see Heron venture out into Europe, he encounters a man who asks him if he needs a horse. Heron says “. And without looking up at his face I realized that he would kill me the moment I showed him my money” (6). During this time the Black Plague had arrived in Europe and with it bringing a blow to Europe’s population, which had an economic impact. This in turn destroyed the workforce-- farms were abandoned and buildings crumbled. The price of labor skyrocketed in the face of worker shortage, and the cost of goods rose. The price of food, though, didn't go up, perhaps because the population had declined so much. The tremendous loss of population resulted in severe labor shortage. The nobility enacted laws to keep wages low, that meant peasants were getting paid little or nothing but faced high prices for
things as basic as food. This pushed them to the desperate measures that Heron and Claudia encounter on their journey. For instance, the burning of the Dammartin House, which leave Claudia as a refugee of the peasants. “Dammartin...
Cited: Koning, Hans. A Walk with Love and Death, a Novel. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1961. Print.
"The Peasants Revolt." The Peasants Revolt. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. .
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