This special issue of Literature & History brings together a range of current scholarship on amity in early modern literature and culture so as to re-evaluate human relationships through this concept. The term ‘amity’ provides a specifically Renaissance definition of affectionate relationships. While the notion of an exclusive, intimate, affective bond of friendship emerges during this period, early modern amity incorporates a wider range of human interactions than this, including concepts of benevolence, gratitude, humanitarianism, political and social bonds, epistolary exchange and textual gift-giving, loving friendship, ethical union and relationships connected by the soul and by God. The essays in this volume demonstrate, amicable relations are often presented as being in conflict and problematic. Amity frequently presents itself as a discourse of freedom, discovery and revelation and yet is underscored by restrictions built on bonds, laws and contracts. It often sets up an abstract ideal, while also attempting to establish a practical set of codes. It offers the idea of intimacy and separation from external forces, but is encoded within a broader set of social discourses, including political, legal, classical and religious ones.
|Journal||Literature & History|
|Publication status||Published - 2011|