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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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Medico‐Moral Theories of Manhood: Strength, Constancy, and Reason

Medico‐Moral Theories of Manhood: Strength, Constancy, and Reason

(p.60) 4 Medico‐Moral Theories of Manhood: Strength, Constancy, and Reason
Richard II

Christopher Fletcher

Oxford University Press

This chapter moves from the commonplace ideas found in the language of manhood to the more elaborate theoretical explorations of manhood, femaleness, and youth found in medical writings, encyclopaedia, sermons, and ‘mirrors for princes’. These writings accord with the language of manhood in associating manhood with strength and energy. Youth, too, is characterized by strength, but also by inconstancy, a lack of steadfastness which unites youths with women, and leaves them particularly exposed to evil counsel and the temptations of the flesh. It is these characteristics which served as the basis for the attack on Richard II, not the associations with strength and honour which the king's established reputation might lead one to expect. This invites a reconsideration of how these themes became so important in Richard's reign, by returning in detail to the politics of these years.

Keywords:   encyclopaedia, sermons, mirrors for princes, energy, youth, inconstancy, counsel, steadfastness

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