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