Merchants’ Marks in Medieval English Books
Lecture by Thomas Kittel
Given at the St Edmund Hall’s Research Expo at the University of Oxford, on February 26, 2017
Merchants’ marks were used initially as a tool of commerce, on consignments of goods, in the Middle Ages. In the sixteenth century, however, they became more like a coat of arms for people who didn’t have one – a form of professional identity. Medieval manuscripts also feature the marks used in this way, and Thomas Kittel (DPhil student, English Literature, at St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford) argues that this is interesting because it shows us how medieval people understood their identity and how books (such as The Canterbury Tales) functioned in social exchanges.
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