A Medieval Life
Important Quotations Explained
1. Most medieval people were not knights, kings, churchmen, or
merchants. Most (more than nine out of ten) were peasants who eked out hard
livings from the land. This book tells the story of one such
2. “When Adam delved and Eve span, / Who then was a
3. As Cecilia’s kin argued over her lands, her mental health, and her
last actions, they acted out the oldest and most enduring story in peasant
communities: the story of inheritance, kinship, and land.
4. Some people imagine that a sense of community was better achieved
in past times—that it was free of conflict, strengthened by homogeneity, and
purified by isolation. This is a fantasy. Cecilia’s experience of community
was much like ours: powerful and compelling in conception, fractured and
partial in reality.
5. In such cases, their desperate expedients were her timely
Readers' Notes allow users to add their own analysis and insights to our SparkNotes—and to discuss those ideas with one another. Have a novel take or think we left something out? Add a Readers' Note!