Friendship, misogyny, and the anti-theatrical prejudice: the difference of The Rivall Friends

Marlow, Christopher (2006) Friendship, misogyny, and the anti-theatrical prejudice: the difference of The Rivall Friends. Peer English: The Journal of New Critical Thinking . pp. 25-33. ISSN 1746-5621

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Abstract

From its classical roots through to the 'common sense' wisdom of agony aunts and talk-show hosts, friendship is frequently said to exert a stabilising influence upon those who partake in it. This popular belief is nearly encapsulated in the phrase purported to describe the very best friendships 'one saul in bidies twain'. Yet a state such as this, however desirable it might prove to be in lived experience, is clearly at odds with the basic principles of narrative fiction. For it is difficult to conceive of a narrative in which the plot does not proceed through the recognition of the notion of difference and it's ultimate renunciation or acceptance. In these terms, unless the fiction details the search for the ideal friend (in which case it could be said to move from a sense of subjective difference or 'lack' to an ultimate wholeness as indicated by the discovery of a soul mate) perfect friendship only functions in stasisis. Is it possible to
create a literary work that preserves the absolute similitude of ideal friendship, but that is also able to weave around this still centre a turning world of action, incident and plot'? Peter Hausted's 1631 play The Rivall Friends attempts this, and it its &cl combination of rustic
comedy, heavy-handed satire and misogynistic romance, reveals that. far from acting as the guarantor of stability, friendship is deeply implicated in the dissolution of certainty. It is the purpose of this article to identify and explicate this dissolution.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:From its classical roots through to the 'common sense' wisdom of agony aunts and talk-show hosts, friendship is frequently said to exert a stabilising influence upon those who partake in it. This popular belief is nearly encapsulated in the phrase purported to describe the very best friendships 'one saul in bidies twain'. Yet a state such as this, however desirable it might prove to be in lived experience, is clearly at odds with the basic principles of narrative fiction. For it is difficult to conceive of a narrative in which the plot does not proceed through the recognition of the notion of difference and it's ultimate renunciation or acceptance. In these terms, unless the fiction details the search for the ideal friend (in which case it could be said to move from a sense of subjective difference or 'lack' to an ultimate wholeness as indicated by the discovery of a soul mate) perfect friendship only functions in stasisis. Is it possible to create a literary work that preserves the absolute similitude of ideal friendship, but that is also able to weave around this still centre a turning world of action, incident and plot'? Peter Hausted's 1631 play The Rivall Friends attempts this, and it its &cl combination of rustic comedy, heavy-handed satire and misogynistic romance, reveals that. far from acting as the guarantor of stability, friendship is deeply implicated in the dissolution of certainty. It is the purpose of this article to identify and explicate this dissolution.
Keywords:Literature, friendship
Subjects:Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q320 English Literature
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Humanities
ID Code:1324
Deposited By: Bev Jones
Deposited On:10 Oct 2007
Last Modified:13 Mar 2013 08:26

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