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Illicit Privacy and Outdoor Spaces in Early Modern England
Abstract

Abstract:

Both historians and literary critics have linked the development of subjective interiority to the increasing possibilities for domestic privacy in the early modern period. Transformation of interior space to include withdrawing chambers, private sleeping areas, and closets provided places for the new "individual" subject to create itself. As some of these critics have acknowledged, however, spaces like closets were rarely truly private. Sources from the period (including poems, plays, diaries, memoirs, and public records) suggest that privacy for illicit activities (such as sex, gossip, and political plotting) was most often found outdoors. The association of privacy with outdoor space suggests that subject formation in the period may have been more open-ended, flexible, and environmentally influenced than has previously been thought.



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