Privacy in the Age of Shakespeare
For at least a generation, scholars have asserted that privacy barely existed in the early modern era. The divide between the public and private was vague, they say, and the concept, if it was acknowledged, was rarely valued. In Privacy in the Age of Shakespeare, Ronald Huebert challenges these assumptions by marshalling evidence that it was in Shakespeare’s time that the idea of privacy went from a marginal notion to a desirable quality.
The era of transition begins with More’s Utopia (1516), in which privacy is forbidden. It ends with Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667), in which privacy is a good to be celebrated. In between come Shakespeare’s plays, paintings by Titian and Vermeer, devotional manuals, autobiographical journals, and the poetry of George Herbert and Robert Herrick, all of which Huebert carefully analyses in order to illuminate the dynamic and emergent nature of early modern privacy.
- World Rights
- Page Count: 352 pages
- Illustrations: 11
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
‘The close reading practices that are deployed through the book reveal a remarkable pattern on intersected social and literary practice…. Huebert takes readers on a richly rewarded journey through the interface of literary discourse and social theory.’
Renaissance & reformation vol 39:03:2016
‘Ronald Huebert’s impressive book offers a welcome counter weight to many studies (recent and forthcoming) on various aspects of publicity, sociality, and material embeddedness in the Renaissance.’
Studies in English Literature (SEL) vol 57:02:2017
Choice Magazine vol 54:02:2016
"This book’s great strength is its survey of a diverse collection of literary works, including manuscripts and printed works, authors from the canonical to the obscure, women writers as well as men, and plays, lyric poems, utopian fiction, domestic advice tracts, commonplace books, and diaries."
Mary Trull, St. Olaf College
University of Toronto Quarterly, vol 87 3, Summer 2018
"Some have claimed that the early modern period lacked a concept of privacy. Huebert shows conclusively that not only was the concept highly developed but that early modern people valued their privacy highly. His book is unique in its wide generic and chronological range and in its willingness to address many different forms of privacy (the domestic, the sexual, the devotional) under the same rubric."
Katharine Eisaman Maus, Department of English, University of Virginia
"Privacy in the Age of Shakespeare is a fine and nuanced account of where and how the line between public and private was drawn in the early modern era."
Andrew Wallace, Department of English, Carleton University
Author InformationRonald Huebert is a professor in the Department of English at Dalhousie University and Carnegie Professor at the University of King’s College.
Table of contents
Introduction Privacy: The Early Social History of a Word
Chapter 1. Invasions of Privacy in Shakespeare
Chapter 2. Private Devotions
Chapter 3. Voyeurism
Chapter 4. The Commonplace Book and the Private Self
Chapter 5. Privacy and Gender
Chapter 6. Privacy in Paradise
Chapter 7. Privacy and Dissidence
Chapter 8. ‘A Fine and Private Place’: Andrew Marvell
Subjects and Courses