Friendship and Queer Theory in the Renaissance : Gender and Sexuality in Early Modern England book cover
1st Edition

Friendship and Queer Theory in the Renaissance
Gender and Sexuality in Early Modern England

ISBN 9780367868734
Published December 10, 2019 by Routledge
202 Pages

USD $48.95

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Book Description

In this volume, the author offers a substantial reconsideration of same-sex relations in the early modern period, and argues that early modern writers – rather than simply celebrating a classical friendship model based in dyadic exclusivity and a rejection of self-interest – sought to innovate on classical models for idealized friendship. This book redirects scholarly conversations regarding gender, sexuality, classical receptions, and the economic aspects of social relations in the early modern period. It points to new directions in the application of queer theory to Renaissance literature by examining group friendship as a celebrated social formation in the work of early modern writers from Shakespeare to Milton.

This volume will be of interest to scholars of the early modern period in England, as well as to those interested in the intersections between literature and gender studies, economic history and the economic aspects of social relations, the classics and the classical tradition, and the history of sexuality.

Table of Contents

Preface: Towards an Increased Understanding of Friendship  1. "The Sum of Perfect Amity": Friendship Networks at the Inns of Court  2. We Are the Jasons, We Have Won the Fleece": Prodigious Amity in The Merchant of Venice and Troilus and Cressida  3. "In a Joint and Corporate Voice": The All-Too-Friendly Households in Arden of Faversham and Timon of Athens  4. "All Those Friends That I Thought Buried": Patronage and Multiplicity in Lanyer’s Salve Deus and Shakespeare’s Sonnets  5. "This Host of Friends": The Promise of Plurality in Milton's Epitaphium Damonis and Paradise Lost  Afterword: Friendship and The Tempest's Working Utopia

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John S. Garrison is Assistant Professor of English at Carroll University, USA, where he specializes in Renaissance literature, gender studies, and the classical tradition. He has been a recent recipient of fellowships from the Folger Shakespeare Library and the American Philosophical Society.


"A profoundly worthwhile aim which challenges the potentially anachronistic application to early modern society of contemporary idealised, dyadic conceptions of friendship and love…This book is particularly admirable for the ways in which it deploys and engages with queer theory…Dr Garrison performs the impressive task of providing a genuinely original critical viewpoint on the sonnets, and I would go so far as to say that his treatment of Lanyer’s dedicatory verses should be essential reading for anyone working on, or teaching, Salve Deus." --Kit Heyam, University of Leeds, The Seventeenth Century

"This book makes significant contributions to our understanding of the Renaissance idea of friendship, offering fresh and imaginative readings of major authors from Shakespeare to Milton." – Tom MacFaul, University of Oxford, UK

 "Garrison's theoretical framework that unites queer theory with New Historicism promises richer and riper readings in the ensuing years." --Amritesh Singh, The Year's Work in English Studies