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Valente, Claire 1969–

Valente, Claire 1969–


Born May 26, 1969; married Barry Balof (a mathematician); children: Mary, Daniel. Education: Harvard University, B.A. (magna cum laude), 1989, M.A., 1991, Ph.D., 1997; Oxford University, M.St., 1990. Religion: Catholic. Hobbies and other interests: Contract bridge.


Office—Olin 236, Whitman College, 345 Boyer Ave., Walla Walla, WA 99362.


Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, tutor and teaching assistant, 1994-97; University of Portland, Portland, OR, assistant professor, 1997-2002; Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA, adjunct assistant professor.


Harvard Medieval Society (cofounder and cochair), Portland Late Antique, Medieval, and Renaissance Society (cofounder and cochair).


Frank Knox Memorial Fellow, 1989, 1993.


The Theory and Practice of Revolt in Medieval England, Ashgate (Burlington, VT), 2003.

Contributor to books, including The Experience of Power in Medieval Europe: 950-1350, edited by Robert Berkhofer, Ashgate (Burlington, VT), 2005; Essays on Medieval Childhood: Responses to Recent Debates, edited by Joel T. Rosenthal, 2008. Contributor to academic journals, including BBC History, Speculum, English Historical Review, and the Journal of Medieval History.


Claire Valente's book The Theory and Practice of Revolt in Medieval England explores two centuries of political violence, beginning with the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215 and ending with the plot to kill Henry V in 1415. She is interested in examples of dissent among nobles against the crown, of which there are six instances in the period in question. First, officials created the Magna Carta to limit King John's powers; second, reformers during Henry III's reign chose negotiation over revolution. Third, barons under Edward I used physical force to make the king sign documents to raise tax revenue. Edward II was not so lucky; he was overthrown and his son became Edward III. The next to suffer was Richard II, when those who wanted reform began targeting the king's close advisors. The precedent to depose kings had been established, and Richard II was forced to step down in 1399. His successor, Henry IV, was troubled by many plots to kill him. Henry V likewise survived several plots designed to overthrow him.

"Valente examines each of these episodes with care and does not press her evidence to fit a thesis," wrote A. Compton Reeves in Albion. Her main point is that violence against the monarch was initially political in organization and intent, and by the late fourteenth century politics had been abandoned in favor of more behind-the-scenes conspiracies and plots. Overall, however, she stresses that nobles usually cooperated with the king in order to obtain favors, titles, land, and other perks that came with good standing in the court. "This is a bold book," according to Michael Prestwich, writing in the English Historical Review; "it takes a very different view of politics from the emphasis on personalities and patronage which have dominated most historical writing on the politics of this period in recent years," Prestwich concluded.



Albion, summer, 2004, A. Compton Reeves, review of The Theory and Practice of Revolt in Medieval England, p. 283.

Choice, November, 2003, S. Issac, review of The Theory and Practice of Revolt in Medieval England, p. 612.

English Historical Review, November, 2003, review of The Theory and Practice of Revolt in Medieval England, p. 1363.

Law and History Review, spring, 2008, Robert C. Stacey, review of The Theory and Practice of Revolt in Medieval England, pp. 191-193.

Medieval Review, January, 2004, Anna Dronzek, review of The Theory and Practice of Revolt in Medieval England.

Reference & Research Book News, August, 2003, review of The Theory and Practice of Revolt in Medieval England, p. 36.

Sixteenth Century Journal, winter, 2006, Timothy G. Elston, review of The Theory and Practice of Revolt in Medieval England, pp. 1078-1079.

Speculum, July, 2004, Richard W. Kaeuper, review of The Theory and Practice of Revolt in Medieval England, pp. 853-854.

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