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Ideal Men: Masculinity and Decline in Seventeenth-Century Spain
Renaissance Quarterly
  • Elizabeth Lehfeldt, Cleveland State University
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This article examines how the experience and critique of their country decline led Spaniards to craft a distinct discourse of masculinity in the seventeenth century. As they self-consciously examined Spain crisis and offered political and economic solutions, these same writers also offered a scathing critique of standards of masculinity. Using the figure of the ideal nobleman as a case study, the article examines how moralists, arbitristas, and hagiographers constructed a dynamic code of manhood linked to questions of productivity, male chastity, and military performance. Further, it argues that this discourse was ultimately nostalgic and failed to adapt itself to the circumstances of the seventeenth century.
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Elizabeth A. Lehfeldt, "Ideal Men: Masculinity and Decline in Seventeenth-Century Spain," Renaissance Quarterly 61 no. 2 (2008): 463-494.