' "Especyal Swetnes": An Erasmian Footnote to the Civil Partnership Act'

Lorna Margaret Hutson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This essay argues that in the early modern period, the cultural capital of ethical friendship discourse (the discourse of amicitia) was used to redeem sexuality and eroticism from the morally abject position it occupied in Catholic theology. It focuses on Erasmus's 1518 Encomium matrimonii ('Praise of Marriage'), which was perceived as such a threatening attack on celibacy, that its French translator was executed for heresy in 1529. Erasmus uses Ciceronian amicitia to redefine the purpose of marriage as not solely sexual and procreative, but as a relation of ethical friendship, and initiated the tradition of 'companionable marriage' that we now take for granted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-21
Number of pages17
JournalLiterature and History
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2011
EventAmity in Eary Modern Literature and Culture, Centre for Studies in Literature, University of Portsmouth - Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Duration: 9 Sept 20099 Sept 2009


  • Amity; friendship; marriage; Erasmus; encomium matrimonii; Cicero


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