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The Rich Merchant Man, or, What the Punishment of Greed Sounded Like in Early Modern English Ballads

McIlvenna, Una (2016) The Rich Merchant Man, or, What the Punishment of Greed Sounded Like in Early Modern English Ballads. Huntington Library Quarterly, 79 (2). pp. 279-299. ISSN 0018-7895. E-ISSN 1544-399X. (doi:10.1353/hlq.2016.0013) (KAR id:54891)

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Abstract

This paper explores how the ballad melody of the ‘Rich Merchant Man’ was fundamentally linked to a drive to educate the serving classes of seventeenth-century England in the appropriate expectations of the ever-growing merchant class, via a negative model of punitive retribution that stressed the need to be charitable and to shun greed for material wealth. In so doing, it offers a case-study of the multi-media methods by which this moral lesson of frugality and even charity – so seemingly contradictory for a merchant class that defined itself by the accumulation of wealth – could be inculcated in the youth it was attempting to train.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1353/hlq.2016.0013
Uncontrolled keywords: reuse of tunes in ballads, morality lessons for apprentices, seventeenth-century conceptions of charity, execution ballads, Lillo’s The London Merchant
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
Depositing User: Una McIlvenna
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2016 12:59 UTC
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2020 09:57 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/54891 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
McIlvenna, Una: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4798-7880
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