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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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A Boy not a Man? 1397–99

A Boy not a Man? 1397–99

(p.249) 12 A Boy not a Man? 1397–99
Richard II

Christopher Fletcher

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers how Richard II's youth, which ought to have faded into irrelevance after his return to pre-eminence in the mid-1390s, was nonetheless revived in the crisis which culminated in his deposition in 1399. This was not a consequence of any unusual youth culture at his court, nor of an alternative conception of masculinity on Richard's part, but of the continuing affront which he found in the events of his teens to his status as a king and a man. It is suggested that the king's (ultimately fatal) pursuit of vengeance can best be explained not by any fresh plot against his authority, nor by his unusual ideas of kingship, nor even by mental instability, but by Richard's thoroughly conventional if unusually vehement attachment to the values encoded in the language of manhood, in which an assault on one's status must be undone by violent revenge.

Keywords:   Richard II, manhood, youth, status, revenge, masculinity, deposition

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