The Typology of Debate and the Interpretation of Wynnere and Wastoure.
Two main types of debate developed in late medieval literature, the more common being the “conclusive debate,” the less common being the “inconclusive” or “balanced” debate. W&W appears to be a poem where it is not possible to determine authorial generic intention between these two types. The conclusion of the poem emphasizes balance between the two characters, with each being sent where he is needed (Winner to support the extravagant habits of the cardinals in Rome, Waster to Cheapside merchants to help their selling). Nevertheless, there is substantial evidence of authorial bias favoring Waster both in the body of the arguments as well as in the opening description of the respective armies. This suggests that the poet may well have intended to create a balanced assessment of the mutual interdependence of these two types in a sound economy but that his own preference for the older feudal values of a “distributive society” has led him into one-sided social satire of the newly emergent acquisitive society of London.
RES ns 36 (1985): 481-500.