Friendship and its Discourses in the Seventeenth Century

ISBN : 9780198790792

Cedric C. Brown
256 ページ
135 x 216 mm

Cedric C. Brown combines the study of literature and social history in order to recognize the immense importance of friendship bonds to early modern society. Drawing on new archival research, he acknowledges a wide range of types of friendship, from the intimate to the obviously instrumental, and sees these practices as often co-terminous with gift exchange. Failure to recognize the inter-connected range of a friendship spectrum has hitherto limited the adequacy of some modern studies of friendship, often weighted towards the intimate or gendered-related issues. This book focusses both on friendships represented in imaginative works and on lived friendships in many textual and material forms, in an attempt to recognize cultural environments and functions. In order to provide depth and coherence, case histories have been selected from the middle and later parts of the seventeenth century. Nevertheless many kinds of bond are recognized, as between patron and client, mentor and pupil, within the family, within marriage, in courtship, or according to fashionable refined friendship theory. Both humanist and religious values systems are registered, and friendships are configured in cross-gendered and same-sex relationships. Theories of friendship are also included. Apart from written documents, the range of 'texts' extends to keepsakes, pictures, funerary monument and memorial garden features. Figures discussed at length include Henry More and the Finch/Conway family, John Evelyn, Jeremy Taylor, Elizabeth Carey/Mordaunt, John Milton, Charles Diodati, Cyriac Skinner, Dorothy Osborne/Temple, William Temple, Lord Arlington, Sir Orlando Bridgeman, and Katherine Phillips and her circle, especially Anne Owen/Trevor and Sir Charles Cotterell.


1 Introduction: explorations of the friendship spectrum

Section I: John Evelyn, Jeremy Taylor and Elizabeth Carey: friendship, religion and 'the material intercourses of our life'
2 John Evelyn and Jeremy Taylor
3 John Evelyn and Elizabeth Carey/Mordaunt

Section II: Milton, Friendship, and Reader-Friends
4 Milton's younger years, humanist identities, Diodati, and Italy
5 Polemics, Blindness, Cyriac Skinner, and meditations on friendship
6 Mature reflections, Paradise Lost, and Samson Agonistes

Section III: Dorothy Osborne, William Temple, Lord Arlington, and others: friendship in private and politics
7 Dorothy Osborne, sociability, and the laws of friendship
8 Temple-Arlington and Evelyn-Arlington: client-patron friendships at court
9 Endings and Counter-discourses
10 Conclusions: the spectrum of friendship

Appendix: Jeremy Taylor's ten laws of friendship
Select Bibliography


Cedric C. Brown is a former Professor of English at the University of Reading, Dean of the Faculty, and external Professorial Research Consultant. A specialist in seventeenth-century literature, he is well known internationally as a Miltonist. He is also an archival scholar and a student of social communications, like letters, and the materialities of gift exchange. Recent work has extended to provincial Jesuit miscellanies, but the major project has been the discourses of friendship, mainly studied in lived rather than fictional situations. He is also founder general editor of the large, long-running book series Early Modern Literature in History.