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Identity and Life Narratives of the Poor in Later Sixteenth-Century Tours*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 November 2018

Abstract

This essay examines autobiographical moments in supplicant claims for poor relief in Tours during the 1580s. Appealing for assistance required the poor to construct explanations for their present impoverished circumstances. Some supplicant petitions offer historians opportunities to explore self-representation and life narratives by a social group that was largely illiterate and whose experiences are underrepresented in the written records. This essay examines how such evidence can provide some insights into meanings of individuality, identity, life history, achievement, and civic participation from the perspective of people at the lower social levels of sixteenth-century French society.

Type
Studies
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 Renaissance Society of America

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Footnotes

*

I wish to acknowledge the financial support of the Australian Research Council and the kind assistance of the archivists at the Archives municipales de Tours, and to thank Patricia Crawford and the readers and editor of RQ for their insightful comments on earlier versions of this essay. All translations are my own unless otherwise noted.

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