Honourable slave traders and aristocratic slaves in Middle English "Floris and Blancheflour"
Languages of publication
The Middle English “Floris and Blancheflour” idealizes slave trade and suggests that only the highly-born can be subject to enslavement. It disregards the oriental origin of the merchants who will trade in Blancheflour. The poem focuses on wealth and ignores the widespread nature of medieval poverty. Respect for the merchants in the text foreshadows the later high social status of slave traders in England. Slavery is romanticized in the poem and the reality of serfdom is not included. The text is similar to the later “mercantile romances” and it is a mercantile text responding to the worldview of merchants, who were probably the text’s audience and to whose expectations the plot was adjusted.
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