An Anatomy of Trade in Medieval Writing: Value, Consent, and Community

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9780801444128: An Anatomy of Trade in Medieval Writing: Value, Consent, and Community

Economics, in our modern sense of the term, was not a discipline in the Middle Ages, although the history of economic thought is often written as though it were. Lianna Farber restores the core economic concept of trade to its medieval contexts, showing that it contains three component parts: value, consent, and community. Medieval writing about trade not only relies on these elements, it presents them as unproblematic.By addressing texts in which each element of trade is discussed directly, Farber demonstrates that this straightforward picture is falsely reassuring. In fact, these ideas were deeply contested. In the end, Farber reveals, writing about trade was not descriptive but argumentative, analyzing the act in an attempt to justify it. Such texts reveal deep intellectual uncertainties about the market society they advocated. An Anatomy of Trade in Medieval Writing benefits from Farber's close reading of literary sources, among them the poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer and Robert Henryson; theological sources, including the writing of Thomas Aquinas and Richard of Middleton; and legal sources such as the canon law on marriage formation. A provocative contribution to our understanding of medieval life and thought, this book implies a need to reconsider the genealogy of economics as a way of thinking about the world.

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From the Back Cover:

"Lianna Farber here searches out something extremely difficult and elusive: the understanding in medieval texts and discourses of what we would now call economic activity and what then might pass as trade. Since such a topic is nowhere to be simply found in medieval texts, Farber has to glean it from a remarkable range of sources: treatises on money and marriage, guild returns, decretals, canon-law compilations, confessors' manuals, and mayoral records. Her aim is always to understand and present, in an open-handed way, a complex subject and to provide a fresh perspective on much-thumbed literary texts. In this she succeeds admirably."—David Wallace, Judith Rodin Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania, President, New Chaucer Society

"An Anatomy of Trade in Medieval Writing is an inaugural work in the new history of ideas, inventing an intellectual history that will be admired and embraced by both literary critics and historians. Lianna Farber's profound assessment of medieval notions of value, consent, and community demonstrates, above all, the power of choosing and reading texts in bringing us to understand the past. The writing is superbly lucid, learned, and strong; the argument includes some of the best work on Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Gratian, and Geoffrey Chaucer in recent memory."—Elizabeth Fowler, University of Virginia, author of Literary Character: The Human Figure in Early English Writing

About the Author:

Lianna Farber is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Minnesota.

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Book Description Cornell University Press, United States, 2005. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Economics, in our modern sense of the term, was not a discipline in the Middle Ages, although the history of economic thought is often written as though it were. Lianna Farber restores the core economic concept of trade to its medieval contexts, showing that it contains three component parts: value, consent, and community. Medieval writing about trade not only relies on these elements, it presents them as unproblematic.By addressing texts in which each element of trade is discussed directly, Farber demonstrates that this straightforward picture is falsely reassuring. In fact, these ideas were deeply contested. In the end, Farber reveals, writing about trade was not descriptive but argumentative, analyzing the act in an attempt to justify it. Such texts reveal deep intellectual uncertainties about the market society they advocated. An Anatomy of Trade in Medieval Writing benefits from Farber s close reading of literary sources, among them the poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer and Robert Henryson; theological sources, including the writing of Thomas Aquinas and Richard of Middleton; and legal sources such as the canon law on marriage formation. A provocative contribution to our understanding of medieval life and thought, this book implies a need to reconsider the genealogy of economics as a way of thinking about the world. Bookseller Inventory # POW9780801444128

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Book Description Cornell University Press, United States, 2005. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Economics, in our modern sense of the term, was not a discipline in the Middle Ages, although the history of economic thought is often written as though it were. Lianna Farber restores the core economic concept of trade to its medieval contexts, showing that it contains three component parts: value, consent, and community. Medieval writing about trade not only relies on these elements, it presents them as unproblematic.By addressing texts in which each element of trade is discussed directly, Farber demonstrates that this straightforward picture is falsely reassuring. In fact, these ideas were deeply contested. In the end, Farber reveals, writing about trade was not descriptive but argumentative, analyzing the act in an attempt to justify it. Such texts reveal deep intellectual uncertainties about the market society they advocated. An Anatomy of Trade in Medieval Writing benefits from Farber s close reading of literary sources, among them the poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer and Robert Henryson; theological sources, including the writing of Thomas Aquinas and Richard of Middleton; and legal sources such as the canon law on marriage formation. A provocative contribution to our understanding of medieval life and thought, this book implies a need to reconsider the genealogy of economics as a way of thinking about the world. Bookseller Inventory # POW9780801444128

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