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King James and the History of Homosexuality
ISBN 0814796931 / 9780814796931 / 0-8147-9693-1
Publisher New York Univ Pr
List price $40.00
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Allegations of King James's homosexuality made in his lifetime and in the generation afterwards shook the political world of early Stuart England. In this engaging history of the monarch and his times, Michael B. Young relates these allegations to the current debate among historians on the origin of modern conceptions of "homosexuality."
Situating the claims of homosexuality within the interplay between sexuality and gender in early seventeenth century England and ideas of governance and peace and war, Young argues that the origins of the modern conception of "homosexuality" lie earlier than has been supposed and that by the beginning of the seventeenth century they were already apparent. The principal evidence he adduces for this is the muted tone he sees in these claims made against James and in the absence in them of ideas concerning "sodomy" as an absolute Other, which have been argued as characterizing early modern England.
Combining research on the history of homosexuality with political history, Young's treatment of homophobia, effeminacy, manliness, and sexual politics in Jacobean England not only explores the repercussions of James's homosexuality on his son Charles's reign, but shows how prior historians have mishandled the subject of James' homosexuality and underestimated its political consequences.