Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Forging masculinities in medieval and early modern Iberia
by Bauer, Shaun A., Ph.D., Tulane University, 2012, 249; 3519915
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation examines the representation of masculinities in three works of conduct literature written or sponsored by men who were closely tied to the royal Castilian court: the anonymous thirteenth-century Sendebar translated at the order of Fadrique of Castile, the fourteenth-century Conde Lucanor by Juan Manuel, and the fifteenth-century Arcipreste de Talavera by Alfonso Martinez de Toledo. While scholars have recently studied these texts to examine the roles of women, they have largely overlooked masculinity as a culturally specific facet of conduct literature. The Sendebar and the Conde Lucanor represent some of the first efforts in Castilian realms to appropriate the Eastern literary genre of didactic stories, which came to be known as the mirror for princes, or the speculum principum. This type of literature was aimed toward the instruction of noblemen in the exercising of good judgment through exemplary models of masculine behavior. The Sendebar and the Conde Lucanor articulate examples of masculine behavior through narratives in which the advice and opinions of men strengthen bonds and contracts between them, while subordinating the advice and opinions of women. The Arcipreste de Talavera marks a crucial change in conduct literature through its confluence of misogynist and homophobic discourse in order to demonstrate that men should avoid lustful behavior, illicit sexual intercourse, femininity, and effeminacy, which the text deems as the most imposing threats to men's well-being and to their masculinity. This study argues that conduct literature was one important mechanism for reinforcing a notion of patriarchal control in the changing political and social landscape of the Iberian Peninsula. The texts' writers and translators were not merely didactic in their efforts, but also engaged in strategies that portrayed masculine control as a required component of patriarchal society. The control of discourse is one of the most important aspects of masculinity as depicted in these texts. Furthermore, the actions that demonstrate control of particular kinds of discourse are as crucial to men as displays of prowess or their domination of other subjects.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Dangler, Jean
School: Tulane University
School Location: United States -- Louisiana
Source: DAI-A 73/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Medieval literature, European history, Gender studies
Keywords: Castilian literature, Conduct literature, Gender, Iberia, Manuel, Juan, Martinez de Toledo, Alfonso, Masculinity, Medieval, Spain
Publication Number: 3519915
ISBN: 9781267512833
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