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Poverty and Prosperity in the Middle Ages and Renaissance

A. Scott, C. Kosso (eds.)
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XXIV+336 p., 1 b/w ill., 156 x 234 mm, 2012
ISBN: 978-2-503-53032-1
Languages: English
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The essays presented in this volume contribute substantially to the study of the economy and attitudes towards poverty and wealth during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

The dichotomous topics, 'poverty and prosperity', 'rich and poor', continue to interest scholars, politicians, and philosophers while also appealing to a wide general audience, and are particularly of interest today. In this volume, the authors raise and try to answer questions about the ways in which individuals, families, ethnic and religious groups and nations 500, 1000, or even 1500, years ago approached the idea of economic status and personal worth. The interdisciplinary nature of this volume provides an analysis of poverty and prosperity from a multitude of perspectives and within a host of secular and religious literature: historical treatises, scholastic works, art, travellers' and political accounts. Through its breadth, depth, and interdisciplinary focus, the present volume makes a full contribution to the topic for anyone interested in how people in the past have experienced these states.

Table of Contents
  • Cynthia Kosso & Anne Scott, Introduction

I. Poverty and Morality:

  • Alicia McKensie, Model Rulers and Royal Misers: Public Morality among the Merovingian Aristocracy
  • Roy Neil Graves, Living on Loss: Poverty and Wealth in Shakespeare’s Sonnets 
  • Rev. Dr. Jayson S. Galler, A Sham, Pretense, and Hypocrisy? Poverty in The Book of Concord of 1580
  • Christian D. Knudsen, Promiscuous Monks and Naughty Nuns: Poverty, Sex and Apostasy in Later Medieval England

II. Charity and Almsgiving:

  • Eliza Buhrer, From Caritas to Charity: How Loving God Became Giving Alms
  • Matthew T. Sneider, The Bonds of Charity—Charitable and Liturgical Obligations in Bolognese Testaments
  • Mark R. Cohen, Poverty and Charity: Jews in the Medieval Islamic World
  • Charles W. Connell, The Voice of the Poor and the Tin Ear of Nineteenth-Century English Medievalism

III. Spirituality and Institutional Organizations:

  • Rosemarie McGerr, Comparing Spiritual and Material Goods: Poverty and Prosperity in The Pilgrimage of the Soul and Everyman
  • Jonathan Robinson, Innocent IV, John XXII, and the Michaelists on Corporate Poverty
  • J. Eugene Clay, Traders, Vagabonds, Incarnate Christs, and Pilgrims: The Religious Network of Danilo Filippov, 1650-1850
  • Ada-Maria Kuskowski, The Poor, the Secular Courts, and Access to Justice in Thirteenth-Century France

IV. Monetary and Literary Economies and Greed:

  • Tiffany Beechy, Rich or Poor?: Alfred’s Prose Boethius and the Poetic Economy of Anglo-Saxon Exposition 
  • Ron Cooley, Wealth, Weber, and Whig Historiography: Reading George Herbert’s “Business”
  • Sally Livingston, The Economy of the Turnip: Contributions of the Rapularius to the Medieval Debate on Greed”
  • Heather Martel, Ferocious Appetites: Hunger, Nakedness and Identity in Sixteenth-Century American Encounters


« Le volume s’intéresse aussi bien au haut Moyen Âge qu’au XVIIe siècle, à l’Angleterre qu’à l’Égypte fatimide, et inclut même, ce qui est heureux, une contribution sur la place des pauvres dans le « médiévalisme » anglais du XIXe siècle (C.W. Connell). » (Jean Claustre-Mayade, dans : Le Moyen Âge, 3-4/2014, Tome CXIX, p. 756)
Interest Classification:
Medieval & Modern (Indo-European) Languages & Literatures
Comparative & cultural studies through literature
Medieval literature (general comparative)
Medieval & Renaissance History (c.400-1500)
Medieval European history (400-1500) : main subdisciplines
Social & economic history
Cultural & intellectual history

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