The English Wits: Literature and Sociability in Early Modern England

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The English Wits Literature and Sociability in Early Modern England

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Register Sign in Wishlist. Unlocking potential with the best learning and research solutions. Home Academic Literature Renaissance and early modern literature. Add to cart Add to wishlist Other available formats: Paperback , eBook Looking for an examination copy? Interdisciplinary approach to the works of Jonson, Donne and others Analysis of how early modern clubs functioned as literary and social spaces and networks Insights into travel writing and its links to London society.

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Wireless Power Transfer Launched in , Wireless Power Transfer is the first journal dedicated to publishing original research and industrial…. They were as codified as they were fluid, as her phrase, "laws of drinking," certainly suggests In like fashion, she traces the various public roles that new figures embodied, often revealing their instabilities as much as their precision. Various types appear, including gentleman-lawyer, poet-satirist, public railer, urbane gallant, professional buffoon, scurra , even, in the case of Thomas Coryate, virtuoso traveler.

In many respects, it is Coryate who demonstrates just how complex the professional wit had become. Though easily forgotten by his own peers, not to mention contemporary critics, O'Callaghan devotes two chapters to the Crudities , which address, respectively, his perplexing decision to publish his "Panegyricke Verses" and his equally fascinating career as a professional traveler. As her analysis shows, distinct does not imply narrow. O'Callaghan carefully examines the different speech and writing activities that early modern wits participated in, with particular concern over the public functions that wit might serve.

In what respect, for instance, might public figures, including statesmen benefit from the classical mode of parrhesia which she attributes, understandably enough, to Erasmus? In what manner did satire, railing, public ridicule and anonymous libeling, prove "necessary to ensure the health of the commonwealth"? How did ritualized forms of play, the Lucianic tradition of lusus , even nonsense, contribute to the formation of civic, or Utopian communities? From satire and nonsense, it is a short journey to Jonsonian "games of vapours" and scurrility.

In a book largely concerned with drinking and dining societies, it is perhaps not surprising that English Wits turns to poems about farting. Indeed, the collaborative "Parliament Fart" looms large, enjoying well more than an entire chapter, in which O'Callaghan analyses the famous prank with respect to prevailing political discourses at the said institution. At other moments, however, textual analysis runs light. A case in point is her references to the court factionalism of the s.

The English wits: literature and sociability in early modern England - CentAUR

While pointing out that the Inns of Court figures began to develop their codes of wit in tandem with the Essex-Cecil rivalry, she offers little by way of precise explanation as to how. In her final chapter, she points out that tavern societies gave rise to the public debates and news culture, which emerged in response to high profile scandals e. Very brief readings of well-known texts, including Donne's "Satire I" and Jonson's plays, make for frustrating moments. Throughout the course of the book, O'Callaghan suggests the ways that literary and social activities, in her words, "open a conceptual space for imagining" for various effects, whether the displacement of male aggression, the shaping of