New PDF release: Anxious Masculinity in Early Modern England

By Mark Breitenberg

ISBN-10: 051158623X

ISBN-13: 9780511586231

ISBN-10: 0521481414

ISBN-13: 9780521481410

ISBN-10: 0521485886

ISBN-13: 9780521485883

To contemporary reviews of Renaissance subjectivity, frightened Masculinity in Early glossy England contributes the argument that masculinity is inevitably worried and risky in cultures that distribute strength and authority in response to patriarchal prerogatives. Drawing from present arguments in feminism, cultural reviews, historicism, psychoanalysis and homosexual stories, Mark Breitenberg explores the dialectic of wish and anxiousness in masculine subjectivity within the paintings of a variety of writers, together with Shakespeare, Bacon, Burton, and the ladies writers of the "querelles des femmes" debate, in particular Jane Anger. Breitenberg discusses jealousy and cuckoldry anxiousness, hetero and homoerotic wish, humoural psychology, anatomical distinction, cross-dressing and the assumption of honor and attractiveness. He strains masculine anxiousness either as an indication of ideological contradiction and, sarcastically, as a efficient strength within the perpetuation of Western patriarchal structures.

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Additional info for Anxious Masculinity in Early Modern England

Example text

I will address the considerable implications of this material aspect in Burton's understanding of melancholy (and subjectivity in general) throughout this chapter. For the moment, a general characterization of the medical disease of melancholy in the early modern period will be useful. In its natural, healthy state - before it might become a disease melancholy is simply the name given to one of the four primary humours that comprises the body. Its physical qualities are coldness and dryness, and its corresponding element is earth.

No better description of this anxiety can be found than Virginia Woolfs observation in the British Museum, 300 years later, when she writes in A Room of One's Own: ". . when the professor insisted a little too emphatically upon the inferiority of women, he was concerned not with their inferiority, but with his own superiority. "56 Finally, the imaginative literature and public drama of the period offers yet another indication that the general "crisis of order" was played out through issues involving gender and sexuality.

316-317) - perhaps the most appropriate introductory epithet to Anxious Masculinity. But it is not the most appropriate conclusion: if we can identify the historically specific operations of early modern patriarchy, acknowledge the residual effects of that history as well as confirm our distance from it; if we can bring to the surface the contradictions and anxieties that have shaped masculinity rather than merely acting on its symptoms; indeed, if we can listen to women, or to characters like Emilia in Othello, then perhaps Iago's trenchant remark might lose some of its stinging accuracy.

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Anxious Masculinity in Early Modern England by Mark Breitenberg


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