This is the first book to focus on the relationships which men formed with their wives in early modern England, making it an important contribution to a new understanding of English, social, family, and gender history. Dr Foyster redresses the balance of historical research which has largely concentrated on the public lives of prominent men. The book looks at youth and courtship before marriage, male fears of their wives' gossip and sexual betrayal, and male friendships before and after marriage. Highlighted throughout is the importance of sexual reputation. Based on both legal records and fictional sources, this is a fascinating insight into the personal lives of ordinary men and women in early modern England.
1. Discovering Manhood. Gender Roles and Responsibilities. Sources and Methodologies. 2. Constructing Manhood. Manhood. Honourable Manhood. Constructing Honourable Manhood. 3. Asserting Manhood.
Dangerous Passions. Women's Talk. Married Life. 4. Lost Manhood. Lost Manhood. The Cuckold's Wife
Community Reactions to Lost Manhood. Occupation and Office. Paternity. Male Friendships. Jealousy: Fictional Evidence. Jealousy: A Case Study. 5. Restoring Manhood. Legal Action and Defamation. Legal Action and Adultery. Reconciliation. Violence Against Men. Violence Against Women. Taming the Scold. Contented and Wittol Cuckolds. Conclusion: Continuity and Change in Early Modern Manhood. Further Reading.