Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Although the Farce is filled with marketplace scenes which present merchants and craftspeople engaged in everyday activities, little work has been done on the commercial elements of this bourgeois genre. This thesis studies the language and customs of the marketplace, in order to gain a better understanding of the frequent commercial humour seen in the Farce.;Chapter 1 discusses the thematic importance of money and monetary systems for the Farce, and provides a basis for an understanding of commercial activity in the following chapters. Chapter 2 examines the English manuals of French conversation, which are a rich source for the study of commercial language and customs. The second part of this chapter contains a generalized bargain scene, extrapolated from the manuals of conversation, to facilitate an understanding of bargaining humour in the plays.;The commercial patterns established in Chapters 1 and 2 are useful for an analysis of farces structured around mercantile trickery, such as La Farce de Pathelin and its sequel Le Nouveau Pathelin, examined in Chapters 3 and 4. This analysis demonstrates the cultural weight given to reputation and identity in these and other farces.;Commercial customs are again studied in Chapter 5, where they are related to customs of betrothal. As a mark of autonomous consent, these gifts and ritual actions have thematic importance in the Farce, and are particularly useful in understanding the amorous, or adulterous, contract, as well as the marriage bargain. Gender contracts are frequent in these plays, and are formed in an atmosphere of relative equality.



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