How much is too much? Negotiating boundaries of excess in early modern drinking cultures
On the background of current concerns about alcohol abuse, this presentation will consider how over-consumption has been represented in the past, interrogating boundaries between ‘acceptable’ and ‘excess’ drinking. Drawing on sources such as sermons, moral tracts, fiscal records, travel reports and material culture, the argument seeks to strike a balance between the positive social functions of conviviality and negative repercussions like verbal/physical violence as well as, particularly important from an early modern perspective, dangers to the health of Christian souls. While many variables - occasion, site, gender, companions ... - affected period judgements, we will find one line that was definitely not to be crossed.