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The Invention of Addiction in Early Modern England

Cree, Jose Murgatroyd (2018) The Invention of Addiction in Early Modern England. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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This thesis explores the word ‘addict’ and the concepts it was applied to, from the invention of the term in the early sixteenth century, through to the end of the seventeenth century. It begins with an examination of the historical and linguistic context in which ‘addict’ emerged, in the writing of early English protestant reformers. Next, it looks back to the Latin origins of the term, using dictionaries and translated works to draw links between the Latin term ‘addicere’, and the English words derived from it. This thesis then uses quantitative methods and corpus analysis to trace changing uses of ‘addict’ across the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, focusing particularly on the subjects and objects of addiction. Finally, the results of this quantitative analysis form the basis for two in-depth studies: first, on the relationship between addiction and the self; and second, on the ways in which addiction was employed as a tool for cultural stereotyping. This thesis finds that early modern addiction was commonly used for denoting habitual behaviours of all kinds, from devotional attachments to bodily sins. As such, the term had particular relevance for writers attempting to describe human behaviours, including religious reformers writing about sin, biographers defining the characteristics of illustrious men, and ethnographers discussing the behaviour of cultural groups.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > History (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.767272
Depositing User: Ms Jose Murgatroyd Cree
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2019 08:58
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2019 20:06
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/22933

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