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Anthony Fletcher's account draws from a vast range of sources-literary, medical, religious, and historical-to investigate the mechanisms through which men and women interpreted and understood their social worlds. He explores the early modern view of the body, of sexual desire and appetites, and of gender difference. He looks at the nature of marital relationships and shows how subordination was implemented and consolidated through church, school, home, and community. And in a text that is poignant, humane, and beautifully written, he exposes patriarchy's tragic consequences: smothered opportunity, crushed sexuality, and a pall across many women's lives.
Yet, over these three centuries, the conventional foundations of male superiority came under acute pressure. Fletcher reveals the depth of male anxiety in the face of women's volatility, verbal assertiveness, and alleged vibrant sexuality, and he shows how the gender system began to be transformed as men sought to detach it from its biblical foundations and inculcate gender identities on something like their modern ideological basis. This revolution in the entire premise upon which gender was grounded is fundamental to an understanding of the structure of English society today.
|List of Plates|
|Preface and Acknowledgements|
|Pt. I||Before the Gendered Body||1|
|1||Prologue: Men's Dilemmas||3|
|3||Fungible Fluids, Heat and Concoction||44|
|4||The Weaker Vessel||60|
|5||Effeminacy and Manhood||83|
|Pt. II||The Working of Patriarchy||99|
|6||Prologue: Prescription and Honour Codes||101|
|7||The Gentry and Honour||126|
|8||Husbands and Wives: Case Studies||154|
|12||Men's Work, Women's Work||223|
|13||Beyond the Household||256|
|Pt. III||Towards Modern Gender||281|
|14||Prologue: New Thinking, New Knowledge||283|
|16||The Construction of Masculinity||322|
|17||Women and Religion||347|
|19||The Construction of Femininity||376|
|20||Gender, Patriarchy and Early Modern Society||401|
Posted July 22, 2009
No text was provided for this review.