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Richard IIManhood, Youth, and Politics 1377-99$
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Christopher Fletcher

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199546916

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199546916.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
Richard II

Christopher Fletcher

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces a number of texts which attacked Richard II as a boy not a man, or by ascribing to him the faults of youth, at his deposition at the age of 32. Historians and literary critics have tended to assume that these texts contain a grain of truth, however tendentiously presented. In doing so, they attenuate criticisms whose origins, on closer examination, appear considerably more complex. Since there are, in fact, a number of reasons to doubt almost every aspect of Richard II's traditional reputation, and since these texts also seem to present a very partial account of the properties of manhood, it is argued that if these texts and their political significance are to be understood, it is necessary to place their rhetoric back in the context of the full range of late medieval ideas of youth and manhood.

Keywords:   Richard II, boy, man, youth, manhood, deposition, reputation, rhetoric

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