'I stand at the threshold of the gleaning field' notes 1

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  • 'I stand at the threshold of the gleaning field' notes
    • Harvest begins with 'Harvest end' - time for the village to glean, bend and gather grain that has been left behind by the reapers
      • For Thirsk, gleaning during this time is a timeless practise 'ancient gleaning rights'
        • Linked to the 'ancient understanding' that Kent will 'take care of us'
          • However, Thirsk will see this world alter , modernisations are in progress
        • The villagers 'break from labour'
        • In the course of the narrative, Walter comes to all gleaning 'that ancient day', calling time on customary rights that are scratched out
          • In the name of 'progress and prosperity' promised by enclosure
    • Social and economic shifts in the mode of production from an early feudal system to increasingly capitalised organisation
      • Edmund Jordan - seeks to reclaim the estate, aims to 'improve' the discursive bulwark of enclosure, expounding a 'zeal for progress' in agricultural organisation
        • The deceptive vision for the community unfolds a new pastoral idyll 'Master Kent has had a dream for which makes us rich and leisurely...everyday becomes a day of rest'
          • The unspoken subtext of this 'dream' is that production that requires no labour also allows the landowner to dispense with labourers
            • Master Jordan's arrival  leads to the village's complete desertion
          • The sheep will become units of production with incredible properties
    • Crace's account of the village pre enclosure has strong affinities with the plangent rhetoric of anti-enclosure scholarship
      • 'gathered in one space... chat in unison...  collective hopes'
        • Arrival of Mr Quill makes the villagers 'too anxious to raise our voices'
          • In the presumption that open field farming connotes tighter communal bonds, there is pre-enclosure communal cliche
  • Leith : Crace's contrast between the pre-enclosure commons and Jordan's transition to sheep farming is overly dichotomised and depoliicitised - 'the organic unities of the pre-enclosure commons appear as an unproblematic good'...'politics and economics don't enter: this is a fall from Eden'


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