Saturday, June 16, 2007

Male identity: sober householder or rowdy drunk but that was 400 years ago

Four hundred years ago to be a man in English society was to have the economic means to support a family and the temperament to govern your own passions as well as the behaviour of wife, children and servants, according to Alexandra Shepard in her book Meanings of Manhood in Early Modern England (Oxford University Press). But during the period 1560 to 1640, the proportion of men who could attain this level of economic independence declined. For others, "the world of drink, gaming and roistering condemned by the conduct books represented an alternative model of manhood, always attractive to some," writes Professor Bernard Capp in this review on the website of the Institute of Historical Research.....

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