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A Merchant's Wife on Knight's Adventure

Permutations of a Medieval Tale in German, Dutch, and English Chapbooks around 1500


Myra J. Heerspink Scholz

Popular among readers of early printed fiction was the story of a merchant's wife who transformed the misfortune of exile into an opportunity for adventure. Using Boccaccio's rendering as a backdrop, this study of four chapbook versions uncovers links between the themes of the story - fortune, merchant ethics, and women's roles - and the concerns of early modern city dwellers. The author also focuses on the experimental quality of narrative prose in the early printing years.