By Mark Breitenberg
To fresh reports of Renaissance subjectivity, fearful Masculinity in Early smooth England contributes the argument that masculinity is inevitably fearful and unstable in cultures that distribute energy and authority in keeping with patriarchal prerogatives. Drawing from present arguments in feminism, cultural experiences, historicism, psychoanalysis and homosexual reviews, Mark Breitenberg explores the dialectic of wish and anxiousness in masculine subjectivity within the paintings of quite a lot of writers, together with Shakespeare, Bacon, Burton, and the ladies writers of the "querelles des femmes" debate, specially Jane Anger. Breitenberg discusses jealousy and cuckoldry nervousness, hetero and homoerotic hope, humoural psychology, anatomical distinction, cross-dressing and the assumption of honor and recognition. He lines masculine nervousness either as an indication of ideological contradiction and, sarcastically, as a efficient strength within the perpetuation of Western patriarchal structures.
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Extra resources for Anxious Masculinity in Early Modern England
In any case, among men the belief contributed to the complementary yet extreme depictions of women's sexuality as either monstrous and excessive or, in the case of the "good" wife, little more than a necessary aspect of procreation. In this brief account of the social history of early modern England I have addressed only some of the issues and transformations that contribute to the agitations and contradictions in the period's sex/gender system. "66 As I discuss in my chapter on Francis Bacon, the perceived endangerment of the aristocratic body was frequently figured once again in terms of the purity or impurity of the female body patrilineal privilege was symbolically and actually confirmed by the Introduction 27 regulation of female sexuality.
Perhaps the strain involved in maintaining these conflicting constructions of female sexuality contributed to the gradual decline of the belief in the mutual orgasm theory of conception during the seventeenth century. In any case, among men the belief contributed to the complementary yet extreme depictions of women's sexuality as either monstrous and excessive or, in the case of the "good" wife, little more than a necessary aspect of procreation. In this brief account of the social history of early modern England I have addressed only some of the issues and transformations that contribute to the agitations and contradictions in the period's sex/gender system.
In this attempt to historicize the emergence of modern subjectivity from its roots in humoural psychology, Gail Kern Paster's superb book, The Body Embarrassed: Drama and the Disciplines of Shame in Early Modern England, offers a variety of salutary new directions. "2 Certainly all conceptions of subjectivity are embedded in specific social formations and ideologies, including psychoanalysis, but Paster encourages us to think differently about the very relationship between physical and psychic states (or between material and immaterial aspects of subject), a distinction that does not exist within humoural psychology.