Lady Meed and the Power of Money.
Responding to the widely adopted interpretation of Lady Meed as a reflection of the ‘economic amorality of the money economy which Langland so detested’, a view adopted from John A. Yunck’s 1963 The Lineage of Lady Meed (p. 113), Burrow observes that L does not simply condemn money as such, but rather takes into account the (mis)use of non-monetary ‘gifts’ and ‘presents’. He notes that the word bribe ‘began to display its relevant modern sense only in the following century, and L himself never uses it’ (p. 116). Burrow concludes: ‘in England after the Black Death, circulation of money was indeed on the increase; but the story of Lady Meed cannot be said to reflect any such development. The economy of bribery, as Langland portrays it, may best be described as a quite traditional ‘mixed economy’ (p. 117).
Medium Ævum, 74 (2005), 113–18.
Burrow, J. A.