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Anxious Masculinity in Early Modern England

Overview

To recent studies of Renaissance subjectivity, Anxious Masculinity in Early Modern England contributes the argument that masculinity is unavoidably anxious and volatile in cultures that distribute power and authority according to patriarchal prerogatives. Drawing from current arguments in feminism, cultural studies, historicism, psychoanalysis and gay studies, Mark Breitenberg explores the dialectic of desire and anxiety in masculine subjectivity in the work of a wide range of writers, including Shakespeare, ...
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Overview

To recent studies of Renaissance subjectivity, Anxious Masculinity in Early Modern England contributes the argument that masculinity is unavoidably anxious and volatile in cultures that distribute power and authority according to patriarchal prerogatives. Drawing from current arguments in feminism, cultural studies, historicism, psychoanalysis and gay studies, Mark Breitenberg explores the dialectic of desire and anxiety in masculine subjectivity in the work of a wide range of writers, including Shakespeare, Bacon, Burton, and the women writers of the "querelles des femmes" debate, especially Jane Anger. Breitenberg discusses jealousy and cuckoldry anxiety, hetero and homoerotic desire, humoural psychology, anatomical difference, cross-dressing and the idea of honor and reputation. He traces masculine anxiety both as a sign of ideological contradiction and, paradoxically, as a productive force in the perpetuation of Western patriarchal systems.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The book is deeply grounded in current approaches to gender and culture, and it contributes usefully to those discussions." B.E. Brandt, Choice

"In Anxious Masculinity Mark Breitenberg has done a superb job of elucidating and untangling numerous of the elements and contradictions of the early modern sex-gender system." Michael M. Holmes, Essays in Theatre

"In Anxious Masculinity Mark Breitenberg has done a superb job of elucidating and untangling numerous of the elements and contradictions of the early modern sex-gender system....The evr deepening comprehension of the ways in which early modern people worried about, debated, and acted upon inequality, validates Breitenberg's salutary sense of the human ability to contest norms and resist coercion." Michael M. Holmes,Essays in Theatre

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. Fearful fluidity: Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy; 2. Purity and the dissemination of knowledge in Bacon's new science; 3. Publishing chastity: Shakespeare's 'The Rape of Lucrece'; 4. The anatomy of masculine desire in Love's Labour's Lost; 5. Inscriptions of difference: cross-dressing, androgyny and the anatomical imperative; 6. Ocular proof: sexual jealousy and the anxiety of interpretation.
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