Date of Award

8-2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Supervisor

H. Ostovich

Language

English

Abstract

In this thesis I examine representations of hospitality in four works by Thomas Heywood: 1 and 2 Edward IV (1599), A Woman Killed with Kindness (1603), The
English Traveller (1633), and The Late Lancashire Witches (1634). In the early modern period the practice of hospitality was integral to social relations, facilitating the consolidation of social ties, status and influence. Concurrent with these four plays, the period from approximately 1580 to 1630 contained an increasing interest and anxiety about the practice of hospitality and its apparent decline. Through an examination of the representations of hospitality in these plays, in relation to contemporary concerns surrounding early modern hospitality, I show that these plays exhibit a variety of anxieties and concerns about the practice of hospitality. In particular, I argue that the plays exhibit anxieties about masculine identity and the social responsibilities of householders; that the hospitable relation between host and guest, though intended to be socially edifying, may provide an avenue for social disruption and subversion due to the specific functions and expectations surrounding hospitality; and about female participation in hospitality, which often results in the exclusion of women from the benefits of the conventional system of hospitable exchange.

McMaster University Library

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