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Title: The economy of the 'drinking house' : notions of credit and exchange in the tavern in early modern English drama
Author: Campton, Charlotte Caroline
ISNI:       0000 0004 5353 7098
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis traces how the drinking house was used by writers of early modern English drama to try to make sense of the period’s culture of exchange. Organised around an examination of five plays, the project focuses on the way in which playwrights engaged with and examined notions of credit, circulation, and the commercialisation of hospitality. By offering close readings through the lens of the drinking house, I make fresh interpretations of the plays. Moreover, I seek to demonstrate the wider literary tradition dealing with this space that, to some extent, has been neglected. With this in mind, I also draw on other popular texts from the period, such as ballads, jest books and rogue pamphlets, which establish certain conventions and narratives that emerge in the drama. In Shakespeare’s 1 Henry IV and 2 Henry IV, the reckoning – or tavern bill – is used as an emblem through which Hal negotiates his moral and economic redemption, in the face of Falstaff’s threat to the wider network of credit established in the tavern space. Dekker and Webster’s Westward Ho also stages credit as both a productive and unpredictable force. In the context of its Brentford location, the drinking house in that play is presented as a transformative space that allows for the possibilities of an alternative economic model. Irrepressible forces of commercialism define the Light Heart in Jonson’s The New Inn; forces that effect character transformations and champion a fluid economy in contrast with landed-estate living. In Brome’s The Demoiselle, these conventions are upended, and the commercialism of the New Ordinary is dispensed with in favour of a more settled economy. The thesis testifies to the investment writers made in the drinking house as a dramatic space and as a space to be dramatised, a space through which the possibilities and energies of exchange were staged.
Supervisor: McRae, Andrew ; Schwyzer, Philip Sponsor: University of Exeter
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: early modern ; tavern ; credit