‘Look What Market She Hath Made’: Women, Commerce, and Power in A Chaste Maid in Cheapside and Bartholomew Fair


This essay examines the effects of women’s roles in early modern English food marketplaces, highlighting ways that ordinary women could use their participation in food transactions to destabilize (and even subvert) power structures and garner authority. In Thomas Middleton’s A Chaste Maid in Cheapside (1613) and Ben Jonson’s Bartholomew Fair (1614), food informs a complete understanding of early modern attitudes toward shifting gender roles in the ever-evolving and expanding food economy. 

Author Biography

Keri Sanburn Behre, Marylhurst University, Oregon

Keri Sanburn Behre (kbehre@marylhurst.edu) is an assistant professor in the English department at Marylhurst University, Oregon. Her research focuses on the intersection of food and gender in early modern drama, especially how early modern identities were established, maintained, and controlled through food.