1st Edition

Private Honour and Noble Masculine Image in Early Modern England Sir Robert Sidney and His Contemporaries

By Erika D'Souza Copyright 2023
    170 Pages 2 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    170 Pages 2 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Robert Sidney, the first Earl of Leicester (1563–1626), serves as an exemplar of an Elizabethan nobleman who had in his collection a body of work pertinent to the subject of masculine honour in the private realm. Understanding the nuances and evolution of the term private honour as it is represented in Sidney’s artefacts, as well as in the public discourse of the era, is the work and contribution of this book. The permeability between the private and public spheres led to an emergence of new forms of masculine representation. In a time when manhood was intertwined with militaristic qualities (such as courage, strength and fortitude), my investigation shows that in the domestic sphere, a gentler version of masculinity, encouraging humility, constancy and modesty, was fostered amongst the nobility. While worries of effeminacy certainly existed, there also was a strong discourse that encourage men to adopt so-called feminine virtues within the private sphere.


    A Note on the Text

    Introduction I: Private Manhood in Renaissance England

    Introduction II: From Henry to Elizabeth to James: The Progression of Courtly Masculinity

    Chapter One: Masculinity through Child-Rearing: Private Honour in the Letters of Robert Sidney

    Chapter Two: Shame, Conscience and Emasculation: Private Honour and the Sonnets of Robert Sidney

    Chapter Three: Private Honour and Nicholas Hilliard’s Portrait Miniature of Robert Sidney

    Chapter Four: Private Honour and Masculinity in Prince Henry’s Investiture Masques

    Conclusion: Public Functions of Private Masculine Honour



    Erika D'Souza is an Assistant Professor of English and a specialist in Renaissance/Early Modern literature. She received her Ph.D. in English Literature and the History of Art from the University of Arizona in 2020; since 2022, she has taught at the University of Tokyo in the Department of English at Komaba. Her scholarly work has been previously published in Early Modern Literary Studies, and includes topics from masculinity studies, historical fashion and miniature portraiture.