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Less than ideal? The intellectual history of male friendship and its articulation in early modern drama

Trevor, Wendy Ellen (2010)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the intellectual history of male friendship through its articulation in non-Shakespearean early modern drama; and considers how dramatic texts engage with the classical ideals of male friendship. Cicero’s \(De amicitia\) provided the theoretical model for perfect friendship for the early modern period; and this thesis argues for the further relevance of early modern translations of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, and in particular, Seneca’s De beneficiis, both of which open up meanings of different formulations and practices of friendship. This thesis, then, analyses how dramatists contributed to the discourse of male friendship through representations that expanded the bounds of amity beyond the paradigmatic ‘one soul in two bodies’, into different conceptions of friendship both ideal and otherwise. Through a consideration of selected dramatic works in their early modern cultural contexts, this thesis adds to our understanding of how amicable relations between men were arranged, performed, read and understood in the early modern period.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Lockwood, Tom and Rumbold, Valerie
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Department of English
Subjects:PE English
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:614
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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