|20 Feb 2023
|12:00 - 14:00
|Graduate Common Room, Faculty of Philosophy, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge CB3 9DA
Constance Furey (Indiana University Bloomington)
Many scholars view the Renaissance as an age obsessed with friendship. Few would say the same about the Reformation. This putative split between Renaissance culture and Reformation spirituality has significant implications for the study of friendship, I argue, in this paper that takes the corporate concerns of devotional poet George Herbert as its guide. The poetic drama of Herbert’s ambivalent pursuit of friendship with God demonstrates the porous boundaries between secular and religious as well as virtuous and pragmatic friendships. Herbert’s comparisons of human, divine, and biblical friendship also invite us to explore what the “ambiguous, idealised, and even mystical quality of friendship” (to quote from Illuminating Friendship’s project description) contributed to the affective appeal of commerce in early modern England, particularly with respect to theological justifications for colonising ventures in the Americas.