Nerehand nothyng to pay or to take: Poverty, labor, and money in four towneley plays

Robert S. Sturges

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


In 1987, David Aers published a polemical essay about what he then saw as the reactionary conduct of medieval studies as a discipline. He argued that medieval literary studies in particular “systematically occluded” the “interlocking histories of class and gender relations, of changing economic realities, [and] of conflicting ideologies” in favor of idealized “harmony-models,” that is, visions of a Middle Ages characterized by “quiet hierarchies” rather than social conflict.1 Aers also attempted a still-useful analysis of Piers Plowman based in precisely those histories of conflict and in the material conditions of agricultural labor in late medieval England. Twenty years later, however, as more and more medievalists have heeded Aers’ call for a criticism of medieval culture that foregrounds the conflicts of classes and ideologies, the main polemical thrust of his essay may seem to have lost some of its immediacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMoney, Morality, and Culture in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781351916851
ISBN (Print)9781315248707
StatePublished - Dec 5 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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