Breaking the Man's part: Madness and Masculinity in the early writings of Isaac Penington (Jr.)

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Abstract

Rationality and self-control were central to fictions of early modern masculinity. The mid-seventeenth-century writings of Isaac Penington (Jr.) nevertheless illustrate the extent to which some early modern men dissented from such ideals. This article discusses Penington's representations of his alienated, "mad" identity within the context of broader cultural debates concerning gender, religion and sanity. While highlighting the processes involved in the formation of a non-hegemonic male identity in this era, the texts more specifically establish the incompatibility of certain radical religious discourses with dominant models of masculinity. Penington's writings also reveal the significance of the shifting constructions of madness in the mid-seventeenth century for the construction of a dissident male subjectivity in this era.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-40
Number of pages25
JournalProse Studies
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2001

Keywords

  • Identity
  • Isaac Penington
  • Madness
  • Masculinity
  • Religious discourse

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