Professor of English reviews book that examines ideas of friendship in 16th Century

GREENVILLE, Pa.—Thiel College Professor of English Mary Theresa Hall, Ph.D., had her book review of “Male Friendship and Testimonies of Love in Shakespeare’s England” by Will Tosh published in a leading journal on 16th-century literary issues.

The review appeared in the summer 2017 edition of Sixteenth Century Journal: The Journal of Early Modern Studies. Since its inception in 1969, the journal publishes about 25 articles and more than 400 book reviews each year.

According to Hall, Tosh’s book highlights the scholarship of amicitia studies by placing Elizabethan spy Anthony Bacon at the center of a set of relationships that blended classical notions of friendship with the social bonds and shared obligations of four other significant 16th-century historical figures. In a set of letters, Tosh exemplifies how “same-sex contact between men was part of the fabric of everyday life” during the Renaissance period and that “friendship spaces” were considered a normal part of early modern English culture. 

A case-study approach incorporates the reader into the intricacies of amicitia perfecta and its crucial role in the personal and professional lives of late 16th-century men. The book grounds the Renaissance notion of friendship in Cicero’s dialogue-essay tradition De Amicitia and in Shakespeare’s early sonnets that validate the significance of personal and professional friendship spaces, Hall said.

Hall has taught at Thiel since 1999. She received her bachelor’s degree in English and secondary certification in English and French from Seton Hill University; a master’s in literature from Carnegie Mellon University; and a doctorate from Duquesne University.

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