Gower Bibliography

Merchants, Mercantile Satire, and Problems of Estate in Late Medieval English literature (Geoffrey Chaucer, John Gower, Margery Kempe, William Langland)

Ladd, Roger Alfred. "Merchants, Mercantile Satire, and Problems of Estate in Late Medieval English literature (Geoffrey Chaucer, John Gower, Margery Kempe, William Langland)." PhD thesis, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2000.

Review

“This dissertation explores the long-overlooked trajectory of merchants through late medieval English literature, and argues that literary treatments of merchants are far more worthy of study than scholars have assumed. I discuss extended conflict between an early clerical ideology rejecting the money economy and the first stages of a guardedly pro-trade ideology. These two incompatible visions of the morality of trade coexist within each of the texts I study, and the continued struggle between these ideologies prevents either from dominating any of these texts. The dissertation begins with three poems that use estates satire: John Gower's "Mirour de l'Omme," William Langland's "Piers Plowman," and Geoffrey Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales." Gower redirects familiar tropes of antimercantile satire by mixing them with proto-nationalist discourse, but then shifts to guild-specific descriptions of mercantile malpractice in London. Langland expands antimercantilism into his meditation on the paradox of materialism itself, so that Piers Plowman's merchants represent the material economy. The merchants of the Canterbury Tales overlap pro- and antimercantile uses of trade language, and as Chaucer collapses the two meanings of words like “chevisance,

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:Dissertation Abstracts International 61.8 (2001): 3163A.
Subjects:Mirour de l’Omme (Speculum Meditantis)

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