Gender, Sex, And Subordination In England, 1500-1800 / Edition 1

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Overview

Men and women in early modern England lived their lives within a social and gender framework inherited from biblical times. Patriarchy-the social and cultural dominance of the male-has long been a fundamental feature of western civilization yet has only recently begun to be systematically investigated by historians. This book is the first attempt to provide a rounded portrait of its workings over a long stretch of the English past.

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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300076509
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 490
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.09 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Plates
Preface and Acknowledgements
Abbreviations
Introduction
Pt. I Before the Gendered Body 1
1 Prologue: Men's Dilemmas 3
2 Functional Anatomies 30
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
9 Living Together 173
10 Marital Violence 192
11 Household Order 204
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
15 Educating Boys 297
16 The Construction of Masculinity 322
17 Women and Religion 347
18 Educating Girls 364
19 The Construction of Femininity 376
20 Gender, Patriarchy and Early Modern Society 401
Bibliography 414
Index 434
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