Friday, May 15, 2009

The Masculine Self in Late Medieval England, by Derek G. Neal

Derek Neal is a colleague at Nipissing University, and this is his first book. I think it will be a hit, because he takes on a set of current scholarly issues and manages to discuss the theoretical perspectives and source material with great clarity. The cover illustration makes me laugh, because Derek specifically says early in the book that he is interested in non-elite Englishmen and that there will be little or no "swordplay" in it; I am unaware that he mentions armor or helmets anywhere in the text, though shoes do show up briefly.

If you are tempted to think that gender is just another trendy scholarly fad you can safely ignore, I challenge you to read this book and then say it didn't enrich your view of later medieval England, or didn't impress you with the possibilities of this kind of analysis.

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