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University of Stirling



Money makes the world go round: Shakespeare, commerce and community

Drakakis J (2016) Money makes the world go round: Shakespeare, commerce and community. SEDERI Yearbook, (26), pp. 7-29.

In early modern England money was of central importance to areas of social life that are in the modern world separate from the study of economics. The demand for liquid capital and the practical problems associated with the devising of a monetary system that was reliable exercised the minds of philosophers, social commentators, and dramatists. The template for discussion was laid down by Aristotle, who perceived financial activity as part of the larger community and its various modes of social interaction. Copernicus wrote a treatise on money, as had Nicholas of Oresme before him. But in the sixteenth century dramatists turned their attention to what we would call “economics” and its impact on social life. Writers such as Thomas Lupton, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, and Shakespeare all dealt with related issues of material greed, usury, hospitality and friendship and the ways in which they transformed, and were transformed by particular kinds of social and economic practice. These concerns fed into the investigation of different kinds of society, particularly turning their attention to their strengths and weaknesses, and in the case of dramatists providing imaginative accounts of the kinds of life that these innovations produced.

William Shakespeare; Thomas Lupton; Christopher Marlowe; Ben Jonson; Aristotle; Nicolaus Copernicus; Nicholas of Oresme; Michel de Montaigne; Jacques Derrida; Jean-Joseph Goux; Pierre Bourdieu; Karl Marx; Peter Laslett; Politics; Economics; Friendship; Hospitality; Usury

SEDERI Yearbook, Issue 26

Author(s)Drakakis, John
Publication date31/12/2016
Date accepted by journal29/01/2016
PublisherSpanish and Portuguese Society for English Renaissance Studies
Publisher URL
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