Heated Words: The Politics and Poetics of Work in 'A Complaint against Blacksmiths'

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‘A Complaint against Blacksmiths’, unique to BL, MS Arundel 292, may gesture
towards fourteenth-century legislation against night-time work, yet is underpinned by delight in the sights and sounds of the forge. The smith’s smoke-smattered visage is simultaneously disgraceful and inspiring to its medieval audience. Many of us experience a different kind of unease in the digital age, as hours are converted into immaterial goods. For many, the clamour of physical labour has been replaced by the noise of automation. Looking back into the forge, the modern urban worker may yearn for its sonic landscape, with clattering hammers, grunting mouths, and
hissing waters.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-101
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

© 2015, Deborah Thorpe. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details


  • Literature
  • Poetry
  • WORK
  • Medieval Manuscripts

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