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'Best Friends' Workshop Session

Led by Naomi Pullin (History / Warwick)



Conflict was ubiquitous across early modern society—between states, localities, groups and families over politics, religion, the economy and social relations. While recent scholarship has drawn attention to the dynamic and innovative ways early modern women embraced sociability and created new spaces and ‘languages’ of interaction, little attention has been paid to the tensions resulting from these exchanges. Taking the relationship between ‘friendship’ and ‘enmity’ this part of the workshop will explore how a focus on negative sociability can enhance understandings of women’s relationships and identities in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. I will explore how friendship and enmity were theorised and will draw attention to the fact that the passions deeply shaped whether friendship or enmity were deemed to be positive or negative. Moreover, through problematising the spectrum on which these relationships are experienced by early modern women, I will argued that these two seemingly binary relationships were much more closely related and interconnected than has previously been recognised.



The sources I have set for discussion reflect different ways in which ‘passion’ was used and deployed by writers to describe negative social interactions. They represent different mediums: a printed treatise, correspondence, and a diary. Time will be set aside during this session to discuss these sources in small groups, so choose a source/s of your choosing to read in advance.


Source excerpts: