The Manly Masquerade: Masculinity, Paternity, and Castration in the Italian Renaissance

The Manly Masquerade: Masculinity, Paternity, and Castration in the Italian Renaissance

by Valeria Finucci, Valeria Finucci, Finucci
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

ISBN-10: 0822330547

ISBN-13: 9780822330547

Pub. Date: 03/19/2003

Publisher: Duke University Press Books

The Manly Masquerade unravels the complex ways men were defined as men in Renaissance Italy through readings of a vast array of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century evidence: medical and travel literature; theology; law; myth; conduct books; and plays, chivalric romances, and novellas by authors including Machiavelli, Tasso, and Ariosto. Valeria Finucci

Overview

The Manly Masquerade unravels the complex ways men were defined as men in Renaissance Italy through readings of a vast array of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century evidence: medical and travel literature; theology; law; myth; conduct books; and plays, chivalric romances, and novellas by authors including Machiavelli, Tasso, and Ariosto. Valeria Finucci shows how ideas of masculinity were formed in the midst of acute anxiety about paternity by highlighting the beliefs—widely held at the time—that conception could occur without a paternal imprimatur or through a woman’s encounter with an animal, or even that a pregnant woman’s imagination could erase the father’s "signature" from the fetus. Against these visions of reproduction gone awry, Finucci looks at how concepts of masculinity were tied to issues of paternity through social standing, legal matters, and inheritance practices.

Highlighting the fissures running through Italian Renaissance ideas of manliness, Finucci describes how, alongside pervasive images of the virile, sexually active man, early modern Italian culture recognized the existence of hermaphrodites and started to experiment with a new kind of sexuality by manufacturing a non-man: the castrato. Following the creation of castrati, the Church forbade the marriage of all non-procreative men, and, in this move, Finucci identifies a powerful legitimation of the view that what makes men is not the possession of male organs or the ability to have sex, but the capability to father. Through analysis, anecdote, and rich cultural description, The Manly Masquerade exposes the "real" early modern man: the paterfamilias.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822330547
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books
Publication date:
03/19/2003
Pages:
328
Product dimensions:
6.06(w) x 9.76(h) x 1.10(d)

Related Subjects

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsix
Introduction: Body and Generation in the Early Modern Period1
Chapter 1The Useless Genitor: Fantasies of Putrefaction and Nongenealogical Births37
Chapter 2The Masquerade of Paternity: Cuckoldry and Baby M[ale] in Machiavelli's La mandragola79
Chapter 3Performing Maternity: Female Imagination, Paternal Erasure, and Monstrous Birth in Tasso's Gerusalemme liberata119
Chapter 4The Masquerade of Masculinity: Erotomania in Ariosto's Orlando furioso159
Chapter 5Androgynous Doubling and Hermaphroditic Anxieties: Bibbiena's La calandria189
Chapter 6The Masquerade of Manhood: The Paradox of the Castrato225
Selected Bibliography281
Index307

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >