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Susan Reynolds

Susan Reynolds

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Susan Reynolds is a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 medieval
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 historian
Historian
A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is...

 whose 1994 book Fiefs and Vassals: the Medieval Evidence Reinterpreted was part of the attack on the concept of feudalism
Feudalism
Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.Although derived from the...

 as classically portrayed by previous historians such as François-Louis Ganshof
François-Louis Ganshof
François-Louis Ganshof was a Belgian medievalist. After studies at the Athénée Royal, he came to the University of Ghent, where he came under the influence of Henri Pirenne. After studies with Ferdinand Lot, he practiced law for a period, before returning to the University of Ghent...

 and Marc Bloch
Marc Bloch
Marc Léopold Benjamin Bloch was a French historian who cofounded the highly influential Annales School of French social history. Bloch was a quintessential modernist. An assimilated Alsatian Jew from an academic family in Paris, he was deeply affected in his youth by the Dreyfus Affair...

.

She believes that the technical terms used in documents prior to around 1100 do not necessarily hold the meanings hitherto ascribed to them; and that clerks of later periods tended to read into earlier documents meanings and relationships current in their own day. In her view, direct ownership of land was more prevalent in the early Middle Ages than has been thought, and the decline of central authority has been exaggerated.

She is an Emeritus Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

.

Books

  • Kingdoms and Communities in Western Europe 900-1300, Oxford, 1997.
  • Ideas and Solidarities of the Medieval Laity : England and Western Europe, 1995
  • Introduction to the History of English Medieval Towns, 1977