The literary works generated by and within the new urban spaces of the late medieval Low Counties were, in large part, defined by the relationships between cities and their spatial opponents—the landed nobility and the lower classes. The new fiction transformed aristocratic heroes of courtly literature into practical businessmen and ridiculed peasants to celebrate the values of urban life. It also advanced a new concept of wisdom that, though rooted in classical and medieval philosophies, proclaimed the supreme values of urban individualism, pragmatism, and self-control.

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