Ballads and Performance: The Multimodal Stage in Early Modern England

"She’s Crafty, She Gets Around: Women’s Craft and Commodification in Ballads"

Another example of a crafty woman getting justice, in this case legally, is “The Fair Maid of Islington; Or, The London-Vintner Over-Reach’d,” c. 1684-1686, Pepys 3.258, EBBA 21273, in which a vintner promises to pay the fair maid for sleeping with him, but when he does not hold up his end of the bargain, she goes to a justice claiming she rented out her “cellar” to him, for which he has not paid. Of course, the ballad’s enacting such justice takes the form of mirthful metaphor. For a full discussion of women’s participation in the culture of jest see Brown, Better a Shrew.

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