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Hende Nicholas: Trickter Stereotypes For College Students In The Middle Ages

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The narrator repeatedly refers to Nicholas as “hende Nicholas,” which translates from Middle English to Modern English as skilled, clever, or crafty; in the adjective’s derogatory form, “hende” suggests that Nicholas belongs to the trickster stereotype for college students who are loathed by town locals for their cunning behavior. Historicists of English universities in the Middle Ages ascribe such an unflattering characterization of undergraduates to the subset population known as “‘chamberdekens’ or pretended scholars of the University.” (Rait 128) These mischievous students often incited many of the regulations by Founders at Oxford and at Cambridge, particularly when their behavior violently affected town populations.
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