Catalogue


An anatomy of trade in medieval writing : value, consent, and community /
Lianna Farber.
imprint
Ithaca, N.Y. : Cornell University Press, 2006.
description
x, 235 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0801444128 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780801444128
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Ithaca, N.Y. : Cornell University Press, 2006.
isbn
0801444128 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780801444128
catalogue key
5908495
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [215]-230) and index.
A Look Inside
Reviews
Review Quotes
"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
"Farber demonstrates a firm grasp of the texts and the issues involved, deconstructing the expositions in a deft manner and delving into how the medieval mind construed economic activity."-Economic History Review
"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
"Painstakingly alive to the nuances of the texts she describes, Farmer admirably realizes the difficult goal she sets out to attain in her book: to describe accurately how writers understood trade during a time when the category of the 'economic' was nonexistent. This sensible, jargon-free, and evenhanded study makes an impressive contribution both to literary criticism and to the history of ideas."-Studies in the Age of Chaucer
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Summaries
Main Description
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 t
Main Description
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.
Table of Contents
The story of tradep. 12
Valuep. 38
Consentp. 93
Communityp. 150
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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