Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Bitter Leaves

Reading the tea leaves has become a bitter not-good-to-the-last-dregs experience.  And you know what they say- if you don't like what you're reading- read something else.
With little regret, then, I turn to medieval history.  Gingerly, like the man tasked with cleaning the tiger cage, I circle around the chef d'oevre, a modest, unassuming, and in fact, economically remaindered volume entitled Peasant Economic Development within the English manorial system, J.A. Raftis.
Like the tiger cage sweeper, I linger by other exhibits, the manorial house, the deserted medieval village, even the Norman influence, for I fear my intellect may not equal Raftis's dissertation.
Charming it is, to consider a time when social forms were more complex and advanced than technology, but hard to understand the accumulation of peasant capital in a time when almost nobody had either money or fee-simple ownership of land.
Still, it beats reading the tea-leaves of Iraq.........


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