Money, Morality, and Culture in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe  book cover
1st Edition

Money, Morality, and Culture in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe

ISBN 9780754664970
Published May 28, 2010 by Routledge
262 Pages

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Book Description

One of the first volumes to explore the intersection of economics, morality, and culture, this collection analyzes the role of the developing monetary economy in Western Europe from the twelfth to the seventeenth century. The contributors”scholars from the fields of history, literature, art history and musicology”investigate how money infiltrated every aspect of everyday life, modified notions of social identity, and encouraged debates about ethical uses of wealth. These essays investigate how the new symbolic system of money restructured religious practices, familial routines, sexual activities, gender roles, urban space, and the production of literature and art. They explore the complex ethical and theological discussions which developed because the role of money in everyday life and the accumulation of wealth seemed to contradict Christian ideals of poverty and charity, revealing a rich web of reactions to the tensions inherent in a predominately Christian, (neo)capitalist culture. Money, Morality, and Culture in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe presents a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary assessment of the ways in which the rise of the monetary economy fundamentally affected morality and culture in Western Europe.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Part I Defining the Players: 'Nerehand nothyng to pay or to take': poverty, labor, and money in 4 Towneley plays, Robert S.Sturges; The incivility of Judas: 'manifest' usury as a metaphor for the 'infamy of fact' (infamia facti), Giacomo Todeschini; The Devil's evangelists? Moneychangers in Flemish urban society, James M. Murray. Part II Questions of Value: Whores as shopkeepers: money and sexuality in Aretino's Ragionamenti, Ian Frederick Moulton; The sound of money in late-medieval music, Michael Long; Anxieties of currency exchange in Middleton and Rowley's The Changeling, Bradley D. Ryner. Part III Wealth and Christian Ideals: 'To honor God and enrich Florence in things spiritual and temporal': piety, commerce and art in the Humiliati Order, Julia I. Miller and Laurie Taylor-Mitchell; Trading values: negotiating masculinity in late medieval and early modern Europe, Juliann Vitullo and Diane Wolfthal; Abigail Mathieu's civic charity: social reform and the search for personal immortality, Kathleen Ashley; Bibliography; Index.

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Juliann Vitullo is Associate Professor of Italian and Associate Director of the School of International Letters and Culture at Arizona State University. Her current research explores the rise of the monetary economy and masculinity, particularly fatherhood, in early modern culture. Diane Wolfthal is Minter Chair in the Humanities and Professor of Art History at Rice University. Her books explore images of rape, Early Netherlandish canvases, and Yiddish book illustrations.


'Admirably pan-European in its subject matter, this volume engages with a range of disciplines - art history, economic history, and musicology, as well as English, Italian, and comparative literature. Exhaustively researched and well written, this is a very strong collection.' Linda Woodbridge, Penn State University, USA 'The range of material is indeed impressive - there is plenty to learn outside of one's own discipline, whatever it may be. Moreover, the essays are generally well-researched and well-argued.' Renaissance Quarterly 'The contributors include economic historians, a musicologist, art historians, and literary critics who examine a pan-European range of cultural and economic phenomena from the thirteenth through to the seventeenth century. The interdisciplinary character and unusual perspectives of this volume make is a welcome contribution to an area traditionally dominated by economic historians.' Economic History Review