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Sacred FollyA New History of the Feast of Fools$
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Max Harris

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449567

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449567.001.0001

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Youth Groups, Coal Dust, and Cow Dung

Youth Groups, Coal Dust, and Cow Dung

(p.167) Chapter 14 Youth Groups, Coal Dust, and Cow Dung
Sacred Folly

Max Harris

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the early evidence of companies of young laymen holding seasonal festivities of their own. One factor that has confused historians of the Feast of Fools is the appearance in the seasonal records of lay activities having little to do with the liturgical Feast of Fools except, perhaps, to serve as a rival attraction. Although some young clerics might participate, these activities were beyond the immediate jurisdiction of the church and generally involved young, unmarried laymen. This chapter first considers the appearance of compagnies de jeunesse in the civic records of northern France by the end of the fourteenth century. It then looks at the youth groups of Lille and Amiens that first appeared in the written record when they ran afoul of the civic authorities toward the end of the century.

Keywords:   laymen, festivities, Feast of Fools, compagnies de jeunesse, France, youth groups, Lille, Amiens

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