Meanings of Manhood in Early Modern England

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This path-breaking 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.

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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

Meet the Author

Christ's College, Cambridge
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Table of Contents

I. Modelling Manhood
1. The Constant Age
2. The Imagined Body of 'Man's Estate'
3. Models of Manhood
II. The Social Practice of Manhood
4. Youthful Excess and Fraternal Bonding
5. The Violence of Manhood
6. Respectability, Sex, and Status
7. Credit, Provision, and Worth
8. The 'Ancienter Sort'
Conclusion: Manhood, Patriarchy, and Gender in Early Modern England

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