ABSTRACT

This short essay deals with the concept of community as it is represented in the Early Modern country house poem, focusing on Ben Jonson’s “To Penshurst” and Thomas Carew’s “To Saxham.” It describes the discussion that took place in an Indian classroom which raised and complicated ideas of cordial community. Concepts of community and hospitality in Early Modern England were compared to contemporary ideas regarding the same in India and the comparisons helped to reveal the nuances and the subtleties of hospitality as it plays out in Indian society. Even as the initially glib reading of the poem was complicated the class discovered the integral role of hospitality in the making of community and how exclusion and inclusion was performed both, in spite of, and because of, social and legal norms.

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