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Market Pledge and Gender Bargain

Commercial Relations in French Farce, 1450-1550

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Sharon Collingwood

Although commercial activity is frequent in the Farce, little work has been done on the economic elements of this bourgeois genre. This study uses a knowledge of medieval and renaissance money and monetary systems for a clearer understanding of these plays, and investigates the thematic importance of economic exchange for both the mercantile and the conjugal farces. The cultural significance of the ritual words, gestures, and gifts frequently used in the scene of exchange has long been overlooked, hindering interpretation of plays dealing with mercantile trickery and amorous bargaining.