The Literature of Protest

  • Marshall W. Baldwin
Part of the The Documentary History of Western Civilization book series (DHWC)


The spirit of protest in the High Middle Ages, as indeed in any period, inspired varied types of expression. It evoked from devoted bishops honest and sincere indignation together with constructive suggestions; it stimulated the sophisticated parody and satire of the scholar; it aroused the emotion of poets who wrote in the vernacular. Much of the thirteenth-century protest was extremely outspoken. But for the most part it was directed at the failures and shortcomings of the establishment and not against what it stood for. Certain special situations also had much to do with what was written. The Albigensian Crusade against heresy in southern France, and the classification of the resistance to Emperor Frederick II as a “crusade,” for example, aroused considerable opposition even among the most loyal.


Thirteenth Century Twelfth Century Informal Payment Parish Church Papal Court 
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© Marshall W. Baldwin 1970

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  • Marshall W. Baldwin

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