Richard II: Manhood, Youth, and Politics 1377-99 - Oxford Historical Monographs (Hardback)
  • Richard II: Manhood, Youth, and Politics 1377-99 - Oxford Historical Monographs (Hardback)
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Richard II: Manhood, Youth, and Politics 1377-99 - Oxford Historical Monographs (Hardback)

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£110.00
Hardback 338 Pages / Published: 11/09/2008
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Richard II (1377-99) has long suffered from an unusually unmanly reputation. Over the centuries, he has been habitually associated with lavish courtly expenditure, absolutist ideas, Francophile tendencies, and a love of peace, all of which have been linked to the king's physical effeminacy. Even sympathetic accounts have essentially retained this picture, merely dismissing particular facets of it, or representing Richard's reputation as evidence of praiseworthy dissent from accepted norms of masculinity. Christopher Fletcher takes a radically different approach, setting the politics of Richard II's reign firmly in the context of late medieval assumptions about the nature of manhood and youth. This makes it possible not only to understand the agenda of the king's critics, but also to suggest a new account of his actions. Far from being the effeminate tyrant of historical imagination, Richard was a typical young nobleman, trying to establish his manhood-and hence his authority to rule-by thoroughly conventional means; first through a military campaign, and then, fatally, through violent revenge against those who attempted to restrain him. The failure of Richard's subjects to support this aspiration produced a sequence of conflicts with the king, in which his opponents found it convenient to ascribe to him the conventional faults of youth. These critiques derived their force not from the king's real personality, but from the fit between certain contemporary assumptions about youth, effeminacy, and masculinity on the one hand, and the actions of Richard's government-constrained by difficult and complex circumstances-on the other.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199546916
Number of pages: 338
Weight: 544 g
Dimensions: 223 x 147 x 31 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
This is and ambitious book...the insights of the book and Fletcher's use of sources not often given prominence in the conventional political narrative...are important. * Phillip Morgan, History Today *
This is the most important study of Richard II's reign to have been written for a decade. * Nigel Saul, Times Literary Supplement *
A pioneering, provocative and compelling book. Fletcher has mounted a clever and courageous assault on the conventional picture of Richard's reign. * David Carpenter, London Review of Books *
Engaging and compelling...a significant contribution to scholarship on Richard II. It offers many new insights and goes far in pointing interpretations of the reign along new and fruitful lines of historical enquiry. * Gwilym Dodd, English Historical Review *
The brilliant reinterpretation put forward here by Chris Fletcher incontestably wins the agreement of the reader, who is grateful to him for having knocked the dust from the image we used to have of this king. * Vincent Challet, Cahiers de recherches medievales *
A bold attempt to shift gender-oriented approaches to the past to the central ground of political history, to demonstrate how sensitivity to issues of manliness allows new readings of texts...Fletcher presents us with well-wrought and challenging new interpretations of evidence * Ian Mortimer, History *

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