Christopher Fletcher

in Richard II

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780199546916
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720826 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs


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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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This concluding chapter surveys the various ways in which Richard II's manhood and youth came to be such important issues in the politics of his reign, both through the king's own attempts to be recognized in the status of a man, and his opponents' efforts to resist them. Richard emerges not as a champion of an alternative masculinity but as the vehement adept of certain conventional qualities associated with being a ‘man’: the deeds in war and the household establishment associated with manhood. What is perhaps most telling about the case of Richard II is the effectiveness with which it demonstrates that behaving in accordance with culturally normative ideas of manhood does not guarantee success in achieving the status these values promise. Yet despite their practical inefficiency, these ideas were still of considerable psychological and emotional power, and might in this sense be regarded as a kind of ‘hegemonic masculinity’.

Keywords: Richard II; manhood; youth; masculinity; commonplace; normative ideas; politics; practice; hegemonic masculinity

Chapter.  2783 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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