Epilogue: In Medias Res

  • Jeffrey Jerome Cohen
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


The Norwich described by Thomas of Monmouth was a hybrid space, a difficult middle. In some ways the city would have been easier for its own residents to comprehend when the difference between peoples had been as lucid as the language that spilled from a particular set of lips. By the time Thomas arrived, the powerful lived and worked in architectures that, having only recently been completed, must still have seemed alien to residents with long memories. In these same buildings, however, were held convocations like diocesan synods that gathered together anglophone and francophone populations, the affluent and the impoverished, married priests and celibate monks, peoples with long and with brief Norwich histories. French-speakers were no doubt slowly adopting English; native families were christening their children with French names. Economic and social disparities still sundered the city’s populations. Friction caused by competition and hauteur is amply evident in Thomas’s vita. Yet the former Normans and the native English had clearly interpenetrated in Norwich, creating a civic milieu that, even if turbulent, was also on the brink of forming an enlarged community. The Jews, transformed by Thomas and his supporters into monsters, could transport away the troubling power of lingering difference, and allow a hybrid space to believe in its unifying purity.


Native Family Social Disparity Hybrid Space Visual Lexicon Revisionist History 
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© Jeffrey Jerome Cohen 2006

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  • Jeffrey Jerome Cohen

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