By Roger A. Ladd (auth.)
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Additional resources for Antimercantilism in Late Medieval English Literature
254) establishes the dialectic between charity and trade that will dominate Langland’s use of trade and its language throughout the poem. V. 20 Repentaunce distinguishes restitution from charity when he argues that the possession of stolen goods precludes charitable donation: “were I frere of þat hous þer good feiþ and charite is, / I nolde cope us wiþ þi catel, ne oure kirk amende, / Ne haue a peny to my pitaunce of þyne, . . V. 264–68). Langland establishes the spiritual economy alongside the dangerous material one through the economics of restitution.
Throughout his long poem, Langland models his complicated relationship with the material world outside his visions, a material world 24 A N T I M E RC A N T I L I S M I N L I T E R AT U R E of which he does not entirely approve, but for the problems of which he retains much sympathy. F. R. H. Du Boulay associates Langland’s emphasis on social order and stereotypes of estate with the turbulence of the times, and a desire for people to keep in their places. ”4 While Langland’s approach to the poor is more complicated than simple class resentment and conservatism, Aers’s and Du Boulay’s description of what Ralph Hanna recently labeled the “Langlandian nostalgic imaginary”5 seems apt, and has driven materialist approaches to Piers Plowman.
140 Admittedly five men do not make a reading community, but especially for the London poets, Langland, Gower, and Chaucer, whose work at least sometimes shared scribes with the guilds, we can draw a direct line between the mercers and the poets through a single man, Pinkhurst. Perhaps Pinkhurst was exceptional, and Chaucer shared the mercers’ desire to hire the best. Given that Usk knew Chaucer’s work,141 and these other scribes all copied Chaucer, Gower, or Langland professionally, it seems more likely that there was no absolute division between literary scribal work and other scrivening for hire.
Antimercantilism in Late Medieval English Literature by Roger A. Ladd (auth.)