Affectionate Friends: Friendship and Collaboration in the Renaissance and the Romantic Era
Stevenson, James J.
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This thesis examines the representations of friendship in letters, collaborations, and paratexts from the Renaissance and the Romantic era to uncover the affection behind the performances taught in classical manuals of friendship. The pairs of Shakespeare-Fletcher and Middleton-Rowley from the Renaissance are compared with Wordsworth-Coleridge and Keats-Brown from the Romantic era to show that the representations did not change even when the myth of the solitary genius began to develop. The representations of friendship based on the ideal of the one true friend allow men to express their affection for other men without being homoerotic or even homosocial. The textual evidence of friendship does not always prove that two people were each other’s “one true friend,” but the signs of friendship signify affectionate friendship for readers who desire such a true friendship for themselves.