Poverty in Late Middle English Literature

The Meene and the Riche

By Dinah Hazell

Studies of medieval poverty tend to focus on a few works, particularly Piers Plowman and related texts, and on the indigent and rural poor. This book presents a comprehensive view of poverty at different social levels, from aristocrat to pauper, and the way in which poverty is employed as a topos to reflect social and moral concerns. The literary works, primarily from the fourteenth century and set within a cultural/historical context, represent a broad range of authors and genres, including romance, chronicle, satire, complaint, homily, hagiography, treatise, and drama, and include both well- and lesser-known pieces. There is a strong focus on the historical and literary solutions to poverty, as well as factors that influenced the complex and often conflicting attitudes towards the poor.


233 pages

Publication Date: 7/19/2009
Format: Cloth
ISBN: 9781846821554