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A History of Everyday Life in Medieval Scotland by Edward J. Cowan

A History of Everyday Life in Medieval Scotland

Part of the A History of Everyday Life in Scotland Series


A History of Everyday Life in Medieval Scotland by Edward J. Cowan

This book examines the ordinary, routine, daily behaviour, experiences and beliefs of people in Scotland from the earliest times to 1600. Its purpose is to discover the character of everyday life in Scotland over time and to do so, where possible, within a comparative context. Its focus is on the mundane, but at the same time it takes heed of the people's experience of wars, famine, environmental disaster and other major causes of disturbance, and assesses the effects of longer-term processes of change in religion, politics, and economic and social affairs. In showing how the extraordinary impinged on the everyday, the book draws on every possible kind of evidence including a diverse range of documentary sources, artefactual, environmental and archaeological material, and the published work of many disciplines. The authors explore the lives of all the people of Scotland and provide unique insights into how the experience of daily life varied across time according to rank, class, gender, age, religion and ethnic group. They look at the contextual nature of everyday experience and consider how this was shaped by national, regional and tribal considerations. They reveal the variations between Highland and Lowland, the Western Isles and the Northern Isles, inland and coastal, and urban and rural. They examine the role played by language, whether Gaelic, Welsh, English, Pictish, Norse, Latin or Scots. The book shows the distinctively Scottish aspects of diurnal life and how, through trading and contact with migrants, the lives of Scots were affected by other cultures and nations. Taken as a whole it represents a new way of looking at medieval Scotland and has implications and relevance for historians and their public across the discipline.

About the Author

Edward J. Cowan, Emeritus Professor, formerly Professor of Scottish History at the University of Glasgow and Director of the university's Dumfries Campus, previously taught at the Universities of Edinburgh and Guelph, Ontario. A fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, he is much in demand as a speaker, journalist and broadcaster and has been a Visiting Professor in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US. His most recent publications are The Wallace Book (revised edition 2010), For Freedom Alone: The Declaration of Arbroath 1320 (revised edition 2008), and Folk in Print: Scotland's Chapbook Heritage (2007). He is currently working on a book on The Arctic Scots. Lizanne Henderson is Lecturer in History at the University of Glasgow. She is the author of Fantastical Imaginations: The Supernatural in Scottish History and Culture (2009) and co-author, with Edward J. Cowan, of Scottish Fairy Belief: A History (2007).

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Book Info

Publication date

1st June 2011


Edward J. Cowan

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Edinburgh University Press


336 pages


Social & cultural history



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