Prayerful Dining: The Diary of Margaret Hoby

  • Madeline Bassnett
Part of the Early Modern Literature in History book series (EMLH)


This chapter begins by considering the close rhetorical relationship between praying and dining in Margaret, Lady Hoby’s manuscript diary, suggesting that these acts should be understood as two halves of a whole. Hoby’s careful recording of when she eats and how she governs food production on her estate at Hackness confirms her food practices as vital to maintaining a personal relationship with God and thereby accruing spiritual and regional authority for her Puritan household. Yet she also documents episodes of commensality that reveal the connection between the dynamics of the table and the formation of religious and political relationships. Whether refusing Catholic rivals a place at her table, or gathering her spiritual community during a time of plague, Hoby indicates that dining has private and public ramifications that shape regional and household bonds and distinctions, just as they shape the self.


Religious Community Church Attendance Spiritual Care Spiritual Practice Food Practice 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Madeline Bassnett
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of English and Writing StudiesUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada

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