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Economy and Society After the Black Death

Seminar and Essay Questions

  • Is it feasible for historians to use the Black Death as a 'turning point' in European history or was it a catalyst for a latent social and cultural 'revolution'?
  • How did the Black Death shape European ideas about religion and economics, social mobility and luxuries?
  • Was medieval Europe 'depressed' economically and culturally after the events of the later fourteenth century?


Introductory Reading

Barber, The Two Cities. No reading

Bartlett, The Making of Europe. No reading.

Bolton, B., 'Plague as an Agent of Economic and Social Change', in M. Ormrod and P. Lindley, eds, The Black Death in England (Stamford, 1996), pp. 17-78.

Cohn, Samuel K., Jr., The Black Death Transformed: Disease and Culture in Early Renaissance Europe (London, 2003) [Introduction]

Waley and Denley, Later Medieval Europe, 90-111

Ziegler, Philip, The Black Death, 2nd ed. (Harmondsworth, 1998) [Chapters 1 and 15].

A new article looks at the transmission of the disease: was the culprit the human louse instead of the rat flea?

Ditrich, Hans, 'The transmission of the Black Death to western Europe: a critical review of the existing evidence' Mediterranean Historical Review 32 (2017), pp.25-39


Further Reading

Bowsky, William, The Black Death: A Turning Point in History? (New York, 1971)

Bridbury, A.R. , Economic Growth: England in the Later Middle Ages (London, 1962)

Brown, Judith, 'Prosperity or Hard Times in Renaissance Italy?' Renaissance Quarterly 42 (1989), 761-80.

Campbell, Bruce (ed.), Before the Black Death (Manchester, 1991)

Cipolla, Carlo M., 'The Economic Depression of the Renaissance?', Economic History Review, 2nd ser., 16 (1964), 519-24.

Cohn, Samuel Kline Jr., (ed. and trans.), Popular Protest in Late Medieval Europe (Manchester, 2004)

Cohn, Samuel Kline, Jr., 'The Black Death and the Burning of the Jews', Past and Present 196 (2007): 3-36.

Cohn, Samuel Kline Jr., The Black Death Transformed (2002).

Cohn, Samulel Kline Jr., 'The place of the dead in Flanders and Tuscany: towards a comparative history of the Black Death', in B. Gordon and P. Marshall eds, The place of the dead: death and remembrance in late medieval and early modern Europe (Cambridge, 2000), 17-43.

Dyer, Christopher, Standards of Living in the Later Middle Ages: Social Change in England, 1200-1520, rev. ed. (Cambridge, 1998)

Epstein, S.R., 'Regional Fairs, Institutional Innovation, and Economic Growth in Late-Medieval Europe', Economic History Review, 2nd ser. 47 (1994), 459-82.

Goldthwaite, Richard A., Wealth and the Demand for Art in Italy 1300-1600 (Baltimore and London, 1993)

Hatcher, J, 'England in the Aftermath of the Black Death', Past and Present 144 (1994), 3-35.

Hatcher, J, Plague, Population and the English Economy 1348-1530 (London, 1977)

Herlihy, David, The Black Death and the Transformation of the West, ed. Samuel K. Cohn, Jr. (Cambridge, Mass., 1997)

Horrox, Rosemary (ed. and trans.), The Black Death (Manchester, 1994) [A collection of documents]

Hunt, Edwin S., and Murray, James M., A History of Business in Medieval Europe, 1200-1550 (Cambridge, 1999)

Jordan, William C., The Great Famine: Northern Europe in the Early Fourteenth Century (Princeton, NJ, 1996)

Kershaw, Ian, 'The Great Famine and Agrarian Crisis in England, 1315-1322', Past and Present 59 (1973), 3-50.

Le Roy Ladurie, E., Times of Feast, Times of Famine: A History of Climate since the Year 1000, trans. Barbara Bray (London, 1972)

Lopez, Robert S. et al. (eds. and trans.), Medieval Trade in the Mediterranean World (New York, 1955; rept. 2001) [A collection of documents]

Lopez, Robert S., 'Hard Times and Investment in Culture', in Anthony Molho (ed), Social and Economic Foundations of the Italian Renaissance (New York, 1969), pp. 95-116.

Lopez, Robert S., and Miskimin, Harry A., 'The Economic Depression of the Renaissance?', Economic History Review, 2nd ser., 16 (1964), 525-27.

Lopez, Robert S., and Miskimin, Harry A., 'The Economic Depression of the Renaissance', Economic History Review, 2nd ser., 14 (1962), 408-26.

Meiss, Millard, Painting in Florence and Siena after the Black Death (New York, 1964)

Nightingale, Pamela, 'England and the Economic Depression of the Mid-Fifteenth Century', Journal of European Economic History, 26:3 (1997), 631-56.

Platt, Colin, King Death: The Black Death and its Aftermath in Late Medieval England (London, 1996)

Twigg, Graham, The Black Death: A Biological Reappraisal (London, 1984)

Varlik, Nukhet, Plague and empire in the early modern Mediterranean world : the Ottoman experience, 1347-1600 (Cambridge, 2015)

Ziegler, Philip, The Black Death, 2nd ed. (Harmondsworth, 1998)