The Culture of Usury in Renaissance England

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Hawkes, David. The Culture of Usury in Renaissance England. United States of America. Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

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The Culture of Usury in Renaissance England

  1. 1. The Culture of Usury in Renaissance England By David Hawkes Bibliographic Entry:  Hawkes, David. The Culture of Usury in Renaissance England. United States of America. Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.No copyright infringement intended. 1
  2. 2. Chapter 1 “Howe is the Worlde Chaunged”: The Emergence of Usury• It is clear that the people of early modern England believed of usury as a novel, unpleasant, and evil power in the land.• Furthermore, the piece of information that usury was primarily and a view rather than a practice allowed it to spread out its limit beyond money lending, and usury was also identified as the driving force behind the rapid rise of the consumer marketplace. 2
  3. 3. Chapter 1 “Howe is the Worlde Chaunged”: The Emergence of Usury• Ideally, these were drawn from Greek philosophy and the Bible, but the wisdom of the ancients, filtered through Patristic and scholastic commentary, continued to put in the picture on protest to usury until the middle of the 17th century. 3
  4. 4.   Chapter 2: The Aristotelian and Biblical Critiques• For the followers of Aristotle, then, the reason money cannot reproduce is that it is not an essence in itself, but a manifestation of the value of other essences. The essence of money is its lack of essence; its substance is it’s in substantiality. 4
  5. 5.   Chapter 2: The Aristotelian and Biblical Critiques• Shared by the Aristotelian and the biblical critiques of usury; early modern England was mutually satisfied that usury was irrational to a philosophical mind that meant that it was also unjust, but many early modern minds were more inclined to trust revelation than reason.• It is helpful to apply the rational and ethical criticisms that were leveled against usury in its germinal form to the exponentially enlarged but nevertheless basically parallel economic practices of our own day. 5
  6. 6.   Chapter 3: The Theological Critique• Usury was legal and yet sinful; it was based on a literalist misreading of scripture, and on a preference for representation above reality.• This entire viewpoint the early modern mind perceived a kinship between usury and Judaism, which they understood as a legalistic, literalistic, and ritualistic religion.• Significantly, usury affects the psyche, and it also impacts the material operations of people’s daily lives, although it has an uncannily similar influence in each of these areas.• The next chapter, it will turn our attention away from the theoretical case against usury, to look into instead objections to its dramatic and wicked practical effects on society as a whole. 6
  7. 7. Chapter 4: “Strange Metamorphosis”: The Death of Hospitality• In the early modern period, the general idea of charity inclined to shadow into the more obviously and immediately topical view of hospitality; the increase of usury was frequently said to involve, as a necessary consequence, the death of hospitality remember that usury was visualized as the opposite of hospitality; it was everything that hospitality was not. 7
  8. 8. Chapter 4: “Strange Metamorphosis”: The Death of Hospitality• Usury was also understood to be a self-motivated behind quite a specific shift in English class relations: the flourishing of the mercantile interest at the expense of the landed.• However, is that magic works through the intervention of Satan; that is the major difference between the early modern mind and our own, the autonomous power of representation as a metaphysically evil phenomenon, and they did.• The next chapter will attempt to suggest some reasons why. 8
  9. 9. Chapter 5: Magic, Labor, and Allegory: Imagining the Usurer• The usurer makes believe that his money increases independently, but in reality the only possible source of value or benefit is the labor of man.• The classification that fills the roleof labor power in their thought isbest conceived as human life itself; itis human subjective activitymeasured as a whole, rather thanindividual acts of production orconsumption, that the usurer stealsand exploits. 9
  10. 10. Chapter 5: Magic, Labor, and Allegory: Imagining the Usurer• The fact that Renaissance England could foresee usurers simultaneously as worn-out misers and excessive hogs indicates that such tropes were not understood as designating empirical characteristics of actual usurers, but rather as figural expressions of various theoretical features of usury.• In the next chapter, we will look at how this fluid; shifting literary characterization of the usurer is attached to the diverse social forms actually taken by this figure in Renaissance England. 10
  11. 11. Chapter 6: “Tramplers of Time”: Alchemists, Goldsmiths, and Sodomites• Burton describes the process by which usury acquires subjective agency in detailed, allegorical form. Usury is in money, commodities, and exchange as a whole; this means that it is also in the human mind, it is said to control the mind so completely as to yield control the entire individual.• We have already seen on how usury itself was representing as a temptation, in consequence, usurers and their agents played the dual Satanic roles, first of tempter and then of accuser. Debt was incessantly likened to punishment, and debtor’s prison, which was a real and immediate threat to tens of thousands of early modern Londoners, was imagined, accurately enough, as hell. 11
  12. 12. Chapter 6: “Tramplers of Time”: Alchemists, Goldsmiths, and Sodomites• The people of Renaissance England as an entirely expectable consequence of our society’s domination by usury, it was naturally and automatically and, surely, correctly presumed that usury’s rise to power would be accompanied by consequences for sexuality, politics, philosophy, and psychology. 12
  13. 13. Thank you!!!Have a great History Week 2012and good luck with Final exam!! 13

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