By Laura Caroline Stevenson
Compliment and Paradox explores the connection of language, literary constitution, and social ideology within the well known Elizabethan literature that praised retailers, industrialists and craftsmen. half I defines a canon of 296 renowned vernacular works, relates the expanding approval for stories approximately tradesmen to the improvement of the English economic climate and the growth of the Elizabethan viewers, and discusses the social origins of the preferred authors. half II is anxious with the switch of the product owner's literary photo from that of a grasping usurer to that of a 'businessman in armour' who defended his monarch at the battlefield and entertained princes at lavish banquets. half III discusses the switch within the literary photo of the craftsman, who ceased to be a clown or a insurgent and have become a 'gentle craftsman' who fought bravely at the battlefield whilst useful yet used to be happier in his humble store, the place he sang, danced, and courted beautiful ladies.
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Additional info for Praise and Paradox: Merchants and Craftsmen in Elizabethan Popular Literature (Past and Present Publications)
224. The economic context 35 wealthy could afford to 'import' goods from larger towns on a regular basis; the rest of the community depended on local craftsmen and took care of extraordinary needs at large biannual fairs. As early as 1500, however, this simple, locally organized economy was breaking down, and by the time Elizabeth ascended the throne gilds found themselves confronted by a relatively complex social and commercial network with which their ideals were not equipped to deal. 49 The increasing labour supply and the demands of growing towns put pressure on the gilds to admit more men to membership; if they refused, craftsmen moved outside city walls into the suburbs (where gilds had no power), thus threatening the gilds with the loss of their historical monopolies on local trade.
45 Ramsay, Wiltshire Woollen Industry, pp. 46-7. 34 Elizabethan popular literature result was one of the most daring and penetrating analyses of the relationship between money and status written during the period. The third commercial group popular authors considered in their works was composed of craftsmen and the apprentices and journeymen who worked in their shops. To Elizabethans who lived in London and provincial towns, craftsmen were an everyday sight, for they supplied nearly all familiar goods made in England - pots, pans, knives, tools, harnesses, shoes - in this pre-industrialized society in which everything was made literally by hand.
In a milder vein, there was Henry Smith, nicknamed 'Silver-Tongued Smith' by his many London followers, some of whom took down his sermons short-hand and rushed them to the press - with resulting confusions of text. His Sermon of the Benefit of Contentation (thirty-seven editions, 15921637) rivalled Dent's penitential sermon in popularity; and seven of his other sermons went through twenty or more editions between 1590 and 1640. 16 The shortest, least-complicated treatise in which he presented his explanations, The Foundation of the Christian Religion, went through twenty-six editions between 1590 and 1638.