The English Wits: Literature and Sociability in Early Modern England

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In the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries the Inns of Court and fashionable London taverns developed a culture of clubbing, urban sociability and wit. The convivial societies that emerged created rituals to define social identities and to engage in literary play and political discussion. Michelle O'Callaghan argues that the lawyer-wits, including John Hoskyns, in company with authors such as John Donne, Ben Jonson and Thomas Coryate, consciously reinvigorated humanist traditions of learned play. Their ...

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