Reading Boyhood: The Books and Reading Practices of Early Modern Schoolboys

  • Edel Lamb
Part of the Early Modern Literature in History book series (EMLH)


This chapter focuses on the books and reading experiences of early modern schoolboys to investigate the ways in which the gendered and aged identity of the boy was produced through reading experiences. It argues that training in the witty deployment of reading material enabled early modern schoolboys to assert their boyhood. Evaluating the ways in which the books for schoolboys (including John Brinsley’s Children’s Dialogues [1617] and Charles Hoole’s Children’s Talke [1659]) posit an ideal model of instilling manhood through reading, it argues that the spaces of schoolboy reading—including the school performances of dialogues and plays, such as William Hawkins’ Apollo Shroving (c. 1626), and the margins of schoolboy texts—are sites in which boys might offer alternative versions of age-specific masculine identity.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edel Lamb
    • 1
  1. 1.School of EnglishQueen’s University BelfastBelfastUK

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