Posies, Pictures and Promises. Love and the Object : The English in the Seventeenth Century

Robin, Sarah and Barber, Sarah and Peniston-Bird, Corinna (2016) Posies, Pictures and Promises. Love and the Object : The English in the Seventeenth Century. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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This book is an exploration of love in the seventeenth century, chiefly researched through an underrepresented source, material culture. The people under examination are the English, in both England and the English-speaking American colonies. This study forms part of the ever-growing field of the history of emotions, as well as offering new and innovative discourse into material culture studies. The intention is to further our understanding of an unexplored emotion, amorous love, and to breakaway from existing histories of emotion, which have tended to focus on negative feelings. Love is explored through an analysis of over 1,100 objects from 80 institutions. These sources are managed by a specifically tailored methodology, which considers the objects alongside traditional written and visual sources, and allows the objects to speak by considering their active constructions, as well as their spatial surroundings, dynamics and various surfaces. This analysis betters our current comprehension of amorous relationships by creating an understanding of how lovers orchestrated their feelings through material culture, and how lovers conveyed the individual qualities and aspirations of love, including constancy, choice and desire. The book is divided into five chapters. The first is a methodological account of the author’s journey with the object. The second is an examination of amorous tropes and their meanings. The third analyses object creation and exchange, while the fourth looks at how objects were used by recipients. The final chapter draws the love cycle to a close by examining responses to death. In each chapter, analysing the spaces around the object allows a scholar to understand the importance of the body within conveying and manifesting emotions, as well as other key themes, including gender and faith. By exposing the essential and complex relationship between emotion and materiality in the seventeenth century, I reveal that love created material culture and that material culture created love.

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Thesis (PhD)
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26 Apr 2022 09:10
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16 Jul 2024 05:58