Kimberley Skelton
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Early seventeenth-century staccato boundaries
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Across the early decades of the seventeenth century, Englishmen and women moved through a physical, social, and mental world organised into a carefully maintained balance of motion and pause. The early seventeenth-century house and estate transformed the analogy of theatrical production and daily life into tangible experience. Daily life itself was analogous to the theatrical productions by which guests were welcomed to estates. These welcomes were simply a more formal choreography of meticulously maintained social boundaries. The staccato rhythm was literally built into the experience of approaching and then moving through the initial spaces of the house. With the staccato motions and the balance between regularity and irregularity that ordered physical, social and mental experience, house and estate seemed to guarantee predictability at every corner and scale. Poets as well as etiquette-manual authors transformed staccato pace into the rhetoric for describing the ideal estate and its social gatherings.

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