Anxious masculinity in early modern England /

To recent studies of Renaissance subjectivity, Anxious Masculinity in Early Modern England contributes the argument that masculinity is unavoidably anxious and volatile in cultures that distribute power and authority according to patriarchal prerogatives. Drawing from current arguments in feminism,...

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Main Author: Breitenberg, Mark.
Format: Book
Published:Cambridge [England] ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1996.
Series:Cambridge studies in Renaissance literature and culture ; 10.
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Breitenberg argues that a patriarchal culture's construction of masculinity inevitably and necessarily creates anxiety in its male members, who must strive to sustain and protect their privileged position. Thus, masculine anxiety not only reveals the contradictions inherent within patriarchy, but "paradoxically enables and drives patriarchy's reproduction and continuation of itself." Focusing on the culture of early modern England, Breitenberg explores his thesis with reference to a varied collection of texts, authors, and topics, with chapters devoted primarily to The Anatomy of Melancholy; Baconian science; The Rape of Lucrece; Love's Labour's Lost; cross-dressing, androgyny, and anatomy; and male sexual jealousy, with particular emphasis on Othello. The book is deeply grounded in current approaches to gender and culture, and it contributes usefully to those discussions. Unfortunately, its dense prose style will prove difficult for all but the most determined undergraduate readers. B. E. Brandt South Dakota State University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

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