This book examines from a social and historical perspective comic Renaissance stage representations of the conflicting imperatives young men faced in order to win manhood. Its chapters focus on the importance of marriage as entry to manhood, on satires of academies of conduct with eulogies of plays as models of conduct, on the plight of younger brothers forced to seek support because the family's resources were willed to the elder, on their fantasy of gaining manhood by marrying a wealthy, sexy widow, and on their real dilemma over choosing whether or not to duel when both attractions and dissuasions remained entangled and conflicted. The book reads Tudor-Stuart comedies in order to illuminate the problems and promises of achieving manhood because comedies permit public scrutiny of what might seem inhibitingly painful or irresoluble and of nuances that might go unregistered by the data and contemporary documents employed in social and gender histories. Ira Clark is Professor of English at the University of Florida.
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