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The Bonds of Love and Friendship in Early Modern English Literature

The Bonds of Love and Friendship in Early Modern English Literature
Author: Ronda Arab
Price: $61.72
ISBN-10: 1772870919
ISBN-13: 9781772870916
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Format: EPub
Delivery: BibliU Reader
Duration: Lifetime

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This textbook is directed to undergraduate students in English literature. In addition to an excellent introduction to the early modern period, it is an analysis and discussion of the relationships between men and women, men and men, and women and women, as found in this literature. It begins with the historical backdrop: advances with the printing press, the ‘discovery’ of the New World, the new science, and the new Renaissance cosmos, plus an introduction to the Protestant Reformation and its currents in England, the advent of Humanism, and the changes to the English language. Following chapters uncover the nature of ideal love and other relationships expressed in the sonnet; this thread is followed by a discussion of Neoplatonic love in Castiglione’s The Courtier and Sidney’s Astrophil and Stella. Early modern marriage is analysed in Spenser’s Amoretti, and same-sex relations in love and friendship are reviewed in Michel de Montaigne’s “On Friendship,” Shakespeare’s sonnets, and the poetry of Katherine Phillips. The text then traces the theme of seduction in the seventeenth century poetry of the Cavalier and the Metaphysical poets. A brief introduction to the English Renaissance theatre includes the problems of theatre building, patronage, the status of actors, the algebra of boy actors playing female roles, their cross dressing and its resonances for comedy and for the play of gender binaries, and the prevailing counters in Puritan censorship. Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shew is then analysed for what it can tell us of both gender balance and imbalance in the period. The discussion of Twelfth Night, or What You Will examines the cross dressing of Viola/Cesario, trajectories of same-sex desire, and the conclusions of marriage and legitimation at the play’s end. The text ends with a thorough look at the search for gender equity in The Roaring Girl by Dekker and Middleton, a remarkable play that features what, in modern terms, we might call a transgender character. Much of what is studied belongs with the high culture of the early modern period, in particular the poetry; however, drama, representing a more popular form of culture, is also well covered.