Title Background

For coueitise after cros; þe croune stant in golde’: Money as Matter and Metaphor in <i>Piers Plowman</i>.

For coueitise after cros; þe croune stant in golde’: Money as Matter and Metaphor in Piers Plowman.

All of what L has to say about money in PPl is not bad. Rather, the poet emphasizes that money is used both in bono and in malo, pressing the point by constantly combining “the image on the coin” (a phrase coined by Goldsmith to describe God’s imprint on the heart) with references to real money and exchange, themselves joined with a variety of personification allegories that illustrate the extent to which the desire for money is sin, rather than money itself being inherently sinful. There are various solutions to the problems of money throughout the poem, such as Reason’s proposals for interest-free lending (C.4.191-94). But the very end of the poem, depicting the assault on Unitas, features a monetary crises itself: “Whereas money, used in malo, seemed to have been neutralized in the Dowel part of the Vita by being turned into scriptural images of spiritual currency and into a series of metaphors, it now destroys the foundations of Christian society.”

Volume

Material Culture and Cultural Materialisms: In the Middle Ages and Renaissance . Ed. Curtis Perry. Arizona Studies in the Middle Ages and Renaissance 5. Brepols: Turhout, 2001: 59-74.

Author

Fichte, Joerg O.