“Strange Metamorphosis”: The Death of Hospitality



Throughout the middle ages, usury had often been contrasted with “charity,” or caritas, in a mutually determining binary opposition. In this context usury is simply and unambiguously equated with hostile, antisocial behavior, and this equation remained influential throughout the sixteenth century. In Henry Smith’s The Examination of Usury (1591) we find usury defined as the antithesis of charity, or “love”:

God forbiddeth all things which hinder this loue: and among the rest here he forbiddeth Vsurie, as one of her deadliest enemies: for a man cannot loue and be an Vsurer, because Vsurie is a kinde of crueltie, and a kind of extortion, and a kind of persecution, & therfore the want of loue doth make Vsurers: for if there were loue there would be no Vsurie.1


Labor Power Early Modern Period Autonomous Power Paradise Lost False Friend 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 4.
    See in particular Felicity Heal, Hospitality in Early Modern England (Oxford: Clarendon P, 1990);CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Daryl Palmer, Hospitable Performances: Dramatic Genre and Cultural Practices in Early Modern England (West Lafayette, IN: Purdue UP, 1992).Google Scholar
  3. 9.
    As Karl Marx notes in Capital: “In English writers of the seventeenth century we still often find the word ‘worth’ used for use-value and ‘value’ for exchange-value.” Capital: A Critique of Political Economy trans. Ben Fowkes, (New York: Vintage Books, 1977), 126, n. 4. 10. Peter Grav, Shakespeare and the Economic Imperative: What’s Aught but as ‘Tis Valued? (New York: Routledge, 2008), 9.Google Scholar
  4. Like all other modern writers on this subject, Grav draws from Lawrence Stone’s The Crisis of the Aristocracy 1558–1641 (Oxford UP, 1979).Google Scholar
  5. 14.
    Robert Davenport, A New Tricke to Cheat the Divell in A.H. Bullen (ed.), The Works of Robert Davenport (New York: Benjamin Blom, 1968), Act 1 scene 2, p.199.Google Scholar
  6. 17.
    Cit. R.H. Tawney, “Historical Introduction” to Thomas Wilson’s Discourse on Usury (London: George Bell, 1925), 22.Google Scholar
  7. 27.
    R.H. Tawney, Religion and the Rise of Capitalism (New York: Mentor, 1947), 39.Google Scholar
  8. 28.
    Francis Bacon, “On Usury,” in David Boyle (ed.), The Moneychangers: Currency Reform from Aristotle to E-cash (London: Eaerthscan Publications, 2002), 90.Google Scholar
  9. 29.
    Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, C.B. MacPherson (ed.) (Penguin Books: London, 1985), 295. Subsequent references will be to this edition.Google Scholar
  10. 31.
    Cit. Lloyd Kermode, Introduction to Three Renaissance Usury Plays (Manchester UP, 2008), 2.Google Scholar
  11. 32.
    William Perkins, Discourse of the Damned Art of Witchcraft in James Sharpe (ed.), English Witchcraft 1560–1736 (Pickering and Chatto: London, 2003), 1, 289–90.Google Scholar
  12. 33.
    Cit. David W. Jones, Reforming the Morality of Usury (Lanhman, MD: UP of America, 2004), 27.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© David Hawkes 2010

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations