Testimonies of affection and dispatches of intelligence: The letters of Anthony Bacon, 1558-1601.
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This thesis explores the affective and professional relationships that sustained the intelligence network of Anthony Bacon (1558-1601), a gentleman-traveller and spymaster for the earl of Essex. Through a series of interventions in the extensive Bacon papers in Lambeth Palace Library, I present four manuscript-based case studies that cast light on a host of relationship-paradigms particular to early modern English culture that are today poorly understood. Chapter 1 focuses on Anthony Bacon’s relationship with the Puritan Nicholas Faunt, and argues for a new understanding of the language of ardent affection between men that acknowledges the influence on such language of Reformed theology. Chapter 2 explores the correspondence of Bacon with Anthony Standen, an imprisoned Catholic spy, and suggests that the early modern prison may have been a facilitating institution in the creation of instrumental friendship between men. Chapter 3 examines the Inns of Court. I argue that the Inns’ concern for the values of friendship was reflected in the widespread political patronage system that operated out of the four societies, a system that was recognised and manipulated by powerful men. In Chapter 4 I explore a context in which the influence of friendship networks was deleterious: the unstable and unhappy political secretariat of the earl of Essex. I argue that the earl’s outmoded concept of ardent service was as damaging to his own household as it was to his relationship with the queen. Taken as a whole, this thesis argues for a new awareness of the place of feeling and the role of friendship in our understanding of relationships between men in the sixteenth century.
AuthorsTosh., William Patrick
- Theses