Meanings of Manhood in Early Modern England

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Overview

This study explores the diverse and varied meanings of manhood in early modern England and their complex, and often contested, relationship with patriarchal principles. Using social, political, and medical commentary, alongside evidence of social practice derived from court records, Dr. Shepard argues that patriarchal ideology contained numerous contradictions, and that, while males were its primary beneficiaries, it was undermined and opposed by men as well as women. Patriarchal concepts of manhood existed in tension both with anti-patriarchal forms of resistance and with alternative codes of manhood which were sometimes primarily defined independently of patriarchal imperatives. As a result the differences within each sex, as well as between them, were intrinsic to the practice of patriarchy and the social distribution of its dividends in early modern England.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The whole study convincingly shows that concepts of gender interacted in very complicated ways with other social distinctions based on age, wealth, status, and moral probity, allowing alternative concepts of masculinity to emerge." —Modern History

"Shepard's book makes a valuable and long-awaited contribution to British history and gender studies. Her shrewd attention to detail and innovative analytical approach not only clarify the complex and often incongruent relationship between patriarchy and manhood, but also shed light on the fragility of men's social legitimacy and access to patriarchal authority in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Shepard not only forges a new path in gender history, but also opens a window into an often neglected, but significant, facet of social change in early modern England." —Canadian Journal of History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199299348
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2006
  • Series: Oxford Studies in Social History Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 5.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Christ's College, Cambridge
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Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Tables
Conventions and Abbreviations
Introduction 1
Pt. I Modelling Manhood
1 The Constant Age 21
2 The Imagined Body of 'Man's Estate' 47
3 Models of Manhood 70
Pt. II The Social Practice of Manhood
4 Youthful Excess and Fraternal Bonding 93
5 The Violence of Manhood 127
6 Respectability, Sex, and Status 152
7 Credit, Provision, and Worth 186
8 The 'Ancienter Sort' 214
Conclusion: Manhood, Patriarchy, and Gender in Early Modern England 246
Bibliography 254
Index 277
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