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Writing Masculinity in the Later Middle Ages
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  • Page extent: 240 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.49 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 820.935210902
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: PR275.M35 D38 2007
  • LC Subject headings:
    • English literature--Middle English, 1100-10--History and criticism
    • Masculinity in literature
    • Men in literature
    • Sex role in literature

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521866378)

Medieval discourses of masculinity and male sexuality were closely linked to the idea and representation of work as a male responsibility. Isabel Davis identifies a discourse of masculine selfhood which is preoccupied with the ethics of labour and domestic living. She analyses how five major London writers of the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries constructed the male self: William Langland, Thomas Usk, John Gower, Geoffrey Chaucer and Thomas Hoccleve. These literary texts, while they have often been considered for what they say about the feminine role and identity, have rarely been thought of as evidence for masculinity; this study seeks to redress that imbalance. Looking again at the texts themselves, and their cultural contexts, Davis presents a genuinely fresh perspective on ideas about gender, labour and domestic life in medieval Britain.

• Detailed analysis of how medieval literature represents masculinity • Features chapters on Piers Plowman, Gower and Chaucer • Connects texts to the contemporary social and political context


Acknowledgements; List of abbreviations; Introduction: writing masculinity in the later Middle Ages; 1. The masculine ethics of Langland's Piers Plowman; 2. Them and Usk: writing home in the Middle Ages; 3. John Gower's 'strange places': errant masculinity in the Confessio Amantis; 4. 'And of my swynk yet blered is myn ye': Chaucer's Canon's Yeoman looks in the mirror; 5. Autobiography and skin: the work of Thomas Hoccleve; Notes; Bibliography; Index.


Review of the hardback: '… Davis writes in a clear, carefully measured style …' Ulrike Wiethaus, Wake Forest University

Review of the hardback: '[Davis] contributes her own fresh and insightful readings of significant and influential literary texts to our current discussions of masculinities and male textual self-fashionings in late medieval England.' The Medieval Review

Review of the hardback: 'Intellectually powerful, historically erudite, and critically trenchant.' Speculum

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