chapter  10
Nastiness and Wrong, Rancor and Reconciliation 1
ByPaul R. Hyams
Pages 24

One strong candidate for the role in Western Europe is that apparently simple, "undifferentiated," vernacular sense of wrong, uncontaminated by the sophistries of the law schools that our sources display well into the high middle ages. Resentment at wrong, hatred of wrongdoers runs deep. In real life, the thinking of the actors can hardly have been unaffected by their awareness of the critiques of jurists and moralists. They all maneuvered and manipulated their concepts of wrong and redress, rancor and reconciliation, to some minimal degree, as it has been well said, under the shadow of the law. But the enquete into nastiness, that would surely have intrigued Marc Bloch and Georges Duby, stands to contribute to more than the history of mentalites. The chapter outlines narrative of legal, and associated social, change over three centuries of English history, from about the middle of the tenth century until close to 1300.