The Laborer's Two Bodies

Palgrave Macmillan, 2006

From the publisher's website:

The Laborer's Two Bodies explores the intellectual, cultural, and political consequences of one of the most fundamental shifts in late medieval English society: the first national labor regulation in the wake of the 1348 plague. Bridging the medieval and early modern periods, this book analyzes a wide range of texts and images produced in this initial period of labor regulation (1349 to 1500), including texts by Chaucer, Gower, Langland, the Paston Family, and Barclay. The Laborer's Two Bodies demonstrates that the category of labor became increasingly problematic for writers who struggled to understand the meaning of work in a world where labor was simultaneously understood as punishment, virtue, and reward.