A crisis of friendship?: representation and experience in two late university plays

Marlow, Christopher (2009) A crisis of friendship?: representation and experience in two late university plays. Shakespeare Studies (37). pp. 54-66. ISSN 0582-9399

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Abstract

In this paper I analyse two early modern university plays in order to demonstrate that they stage a clash between the conventions of literary friendship and the imperfections of lived experience. Amateur dramatic performances at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge were a regular occurrence from around 1520 until the latter part of the seventeenth century. The plays offered a discursive space within which young male scholars were able to experiment with different constructions of masculine identity, and one of the cornerstones of this identity was its capacity for friendship. This is perhaps not surprising given both the influence of classical representations of friendship through the humanist curriculum and the almost exclusively homosocial environment within which the students lived. But the plays also show evidence of an intellectual connection between friendship and the demands made upon it by the wider world—a world that is very different from that represented in classical and medieval tales of perfect friendship.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:University Drama
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W440 Theatre studies
Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q320 English Literature
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Humanities
ID Code:5479
Deposited By: Christopher Marlow
Deposited On:08 May 2012 16:13
Last Modified:06 Dec 2013 09:33

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