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Meanings of Manhood in Early Modern England$
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Alexandra Shepard

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199299348

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199299348.001.0001

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The Imagined Body of ‘Man's Estate’

The Imagined Body of ‘Man's Estate’

(p.47) 2 The Imagined Body of ‘Man's Estate’
Meanings of Manhood in Early Modern England


Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on medical representations of manhood that were founded upon a broader range of distinctions between men. Guides to health informed by humoral theory, like the sources discussed in Chapter 1, also excluded younger and older men from the bodily equilibrium ideally expected of manhood. In addition, tracts on health subtly mapped temperamental deviations from the norm onto contours of social status. Emphasising just how difficult it was for a man to achieve the moderation expected of manhood, such works tended to elide the temperate ideal with concepts of civility and virtue, and thus appropriated it as a form of gentility for elites.

Keywords:   health, humoral theory, the body, civility, virtue, gentility

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