The first full length treatment of how men of different professions, social ranks and ages are empowered by their emotional expressiveness in early modern English literary works, this study examines the profound impact of the cultural shift in the English aristocracy from feudal warriors to emotionally expressive courtiers or gentlemen on all kinds of men in early modern English literature. Jennifer Vaught bases her analysis on the epic, lyric, and romance as well as on drama, pastoral writings and biography, by Shakespeare, Spenser, Sidney, Marlowe, Jonson and Garrick among other writers. Offering new readings of these works, she traces the gradual emergence of men of feeling during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, to the blossoming of this literary version of manhood during the eighteenth century.
'….contributes to the growing critical discussion of early modern masculinity and complements studies already in print of femininity and affect in the period.' Patricia Phillippy, Texas A&M University, USA ’Masculinity and Emotion in Early Modern English Literature makes a significant addition to the study of affect, feeling, emotions and mood in various disciplines over the last fifteen to twenty years. …Vaught makes a strong case for the nuanced valuation of masculine emotional expressiveness (strong or otherwise) in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English culture. …It is a mark of the book’s clarity of focus and admirably incremental argumentation that this material seems, not just fresh, but also up to the task of providing something of a finale.’ Parergon ’Vaught not only explores gender within the early modern period but considers how postmodern theory might rethink agency in relation to particular cultural and historical contexts. I would recommend this book to students, scholars, or readers interested in the field. It is well worth study.’ Renaissance Quarterly
Contents: Introduction: men who weep and wail: masculinity and emotion in early modern English literature. Part 1 The Intertextual Poetics of Scholarly Men: Affect in Arboreal Works by Spenser and Jonson: Passionate Protestantism: Spenser's dialogic, feminine voice in Book I of The Faerie Queen; A pen as mighty as the sword: stoical anger in Jonson's Timber, or Discoveries upon Men and Matter. Part 2 Emotional Kings and their Stoical Usurpers in History Plays by Marlowe and Shakespeare: 'Monster of men!': androgyny, affect, and politically savvy action in Marlowe's Edward II; 'Wise men ne'er sit and wail their woes': woeful rhetoric and crocodile tears in Shakespeare's Richard II. Part 3 Chivalric Knights, Courtiers, and Shepherds Prone to Tears in Pastoral Romances by Sidney and Spenser: Crossdressers in love: men of feeling and narrative urgency in Sidney's New Arcadia; 'To sing like birds i' th' cage': lyrical, private expressions of emotion in Book VI of Spenser's Faerie Queen. Part 4 Demonstrative Family Men: Masculinity and Sentiment in Works by Shakespeare, Lanyer, Cary, Donne, Walton and Garrick: 'Affection! thy intention stabs the center': male irrationality vs. female composure in Shakespeare's Winter's Tale; Nightmarish visions of grief: lamentable men in Shakespeare's Winter's Tale and Walton's Life of Dr John Donne; Fathers and rogues: peddling middle-class values by shedding tears on stage in David Garrick's Florizel and Perdita; Postscript; Bibliography; Index.