The Economic Plays of Cornelis Everaert of Bruges: The Drama of Virtuous Commerce and the Decline of an Early Modern Economy
Albert, Mandy Lowell
Cornelis Everaert (1480-1556) was a playwright in the tradition maintained by the Chambers of Rhetoric (rederijkerskamers) of the Low Countries. He also created the largest known body of work by a single author to come from this tradition (thirty-five plays across nearly thirty years), and the author of most of the surviving plays from this area and period that deal with economic themes. My original contribution to research on this body of work – as well as our knowledge of witness accounts of the early Renaissance economy in northern Europe – is a conception of Everaert’s eight "economic plays" as part of one complete narrative of the decline and fall of the economy in his hometown of Bruges, which sunk into a deep depression at the turn of the sixteenth century from which it did not recover for decades. The plays form an aborted redemptive arc in which the market of Bruges is corrupted and then continually blocked from recovery by the unvirtuous choices of its participants, played out in a drama of acting and reacting. They reflect a layman’s understanding of the economy and the forces that drove it, which instructs their author’s middle-class audience on how to use the market to pursue their own advantages while also fulfilling their obligations to the broader community. Outside of the analysis of these eight plays, I have also translated them into English in order to enable their broader study and potential performance; this will be the first readily available English translation of any group of Everaert’s plays.
Bruges; Chambers of Rhetoric; Cornelis Everaert; Flanders; medieval drama; Literature; Economic history; Theater history
Galloway, Andrew Scott
Howie, Cary S.; MacDonald, Scott C.
Ph. D., Medieval Studies
Doctor of Philosophy
Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
dissertation or thesis
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International