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Reading: Stephen Gosson’s The Schoole of Abuse and the Representation of Masculinity

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Stephen Gosson’s The Schoole of Abuse and the Representation of Masculinity

Author:

Per Sivefors

Linnaeus University, SE
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Abstract

This essay examines the representation of masculinity in Stephen Gosson’s anti-theatrical pamphlet The schoole of abuse (1579). Discussing the author’s self-presentation in the prefatory material and elsewhere in the text, the essay investigates the often contradictory and defensive authorial persona and compares it to Gosson’s dedicatee Sir Philip Sidney’s rhetoric of self-presentation in his Defence of Poesy, as well as to Gosson’s own, later pamphlet Playes confuted in fiue actions (1582). The basic result of the discussion is that Gosson’s pamphlet has a conflicted relation to early modern notions of manhood; more specifically, the essay concludes, Gosson’s attacks on poetry and theatre as ‘effeminate’ are conveyed through an authorial persona that itself comes across as excessive, licentious and less than manly by early modern standards.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.35360/njes.600
How to Cite: Sivefors, P., 2020. Stephen Gosson’s The Schoole of Abuse and the Representation of Masculinity. Nordic Journal of English Studies, 19(4), pp.26–36. DOI: http://doi.org/10.35360/njes.600
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Published on 22 Nov 2020.
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