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Misperceiving Masculinity, Misreading the Duel

  • Jennifer Low
Part of the Early Modern Cultural Series book series

Abstract

This chapter examines how status-based notions of honor modified the idea of manliness when the phenomenon of duelling became popular in early modern English society and on the dramatic stage. The texts I examine are in some sense working through the contradictions in humanist thought about the relation of essence to being; as social documents they work out the answer relationally, by offering different answers to men of different ranks. Status alters both one’s definition of honor and one’s valuation of it. Because the authors of anti-duelling tracts failed to comprehend the significance of honor for the gentry and aristocracy, their publications failed in large part to mitigate the popularity of the duel. Only James I acknowledged the importance of honor in his edict against duelling, but by assuming that royal recognition was the fount of all honor, he, too, failed to perceive the instability of the concept.

Keywords

Early Modern Period Final Scene Single Combat Military Elite Exact Truth 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Jennifer Low 2003

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  • Jennifer Low

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