The Masculine Self in Late Medieval England
Marshalling a wide array of colorful evidence—including legal records, letters, medical sources, and the literature of the period—Derek G. Neal here plumbs the social and cultural significance of masculinity during the generations born between the Black Death and the Protestant Reformation. He discovers that social relations between men, founded on the ideals of honesty and self-restraint, were at least as important as their domination and control of women in defining their identities. By carefully exploring the social, physical, and psychological aspects of masculinity, The Masculine Self in Late Medieval England offers a uniquely comprehensive account of the exterior and interior lives of medieval men.
“A splendid study of the complexities of being a man in late medieval England. Neal’s vision of masculine subjectivity and identity is by far the most sophisticated, nuanced, and deep available on this period and will find a place on the must-read list of every historian of men and masculinity as well as sex and gender more broadly.”
“The Masculine Self in Late Medieval England is an unusual and compelling book—a combination of wide and careful research with subtle style. The book will provide many students and scholars with their first taste of the study of medieval masculinity and his work is a landmark in the field, a book that is by turns charming and provocative but always fascinating. This is partly because of how well and bravely he links archival research to social history and psychological history to literature, playing out connections few scholars are brave enough to develop. In revealing the contours of medieval masculinity, Neal reveals much about what made men tick and made the later medieval era distinctive.”