Intertextual Masculinity in French Renaissance Literature: Rabelais, Brantôme, and the Cent nouvelles nouvelles, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Intertextual Masculinity in French Renaissance Literature

Rabelais, Brantôme, and the Cent nouvelles nouvelles, 1st Edition

By David P. LaGuardia


262 pages

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Intertextual Masculinity in French Renaissance Literature is an in-depth analysis of normative masculinity in a specific corpus from pre-modern Europe: narrative literature devoted to the subject of adultery and cuckoldry. The text begins with a set of general questions that serve as a conceptual framework for the literary analyses that follow: why were early modern readers so fascinated by the figure of the cuckold? What was his relation to the real world of sexual behavior and gender relations? What effect did he have on the construction of actual masculinities? To respond to these questions, David LaGuardia develops a theoretical approach that is based both on modern critical theory and on close readings of records and documents from the period. Reading early modern legal texts, penance manuals, criminal registers, and exempla collections in relation to the Cent nouvelles nouvelles, Rabelais's Tiers Livre, and Brantôme's Dames galantes, LaGuardia formulates a definition of masculinity in this historical context as a set of intertextual practices that men used to relay and to reinforce their gender identities. By examining legal and literary artifacts from this particular period and culture, this study highlights the extent to which this supposedly normative masculinity was historically contingent and materially conditioned by generic practices.


'David La Guardia's study of masculinity in medieval and early modern French texts argues that masculinity is an intertextual practice, that men write and read for other men, passing on exemplary stories that constitute a kind of "guidebook" for normative masculinity. Examining Rabelais, the Cent nouvelles, and Brantôme, among others, La Guardia draws on extensive erudition to make an argument whose implications go beyond the scope of the study itself. Intertextual Masculinity makes substantial and original contributions to the understanding of normative masculine gender in early modernity and beautifully illustrates the degree to which gendering is a rhetorical practice of intertextuality, then as now.' Carla Freccero, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA ’Intertextual Masculinities is a bold and convincing reassessment of these consistently fascinating texts in the light of modern gender and queer theory and classical and medieval models. LaGuardia’s background in late medieval studies provides a rich and erudite map that anchors sixteenth-century literary practice in its vernacular past - a particularly rewarding endeavour that reasserts the connections between medieval and early modern that are often ignored or broken… a provocative and challenging book that raises very pertinent and insistent questions about the study of gender, both then and now.’ French Studies

About the Author

David LaGuardia is an Associate Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Dartmouth College

About the Series

Women and Gender in the Early Modern World

Women and Gender in the Early Modern World
The study of women and gender offers some of the most vital and innovative challenges to current scholarship on the early modern period. For more than a decade now, Women and Gender in the Early Modern World has served as a forum for presenting fresh ideas and original approaches to the field. Interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary in scope, this Routledge series strives to reach beyond geographical limitations to explore the experiences of early modern women and the nature of gender in Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa. We welcome proposals for both single-author volumes and edited collections which expand and develop this continually evolving field of study.

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