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The first book-length study of writing, men, and masculinity in seventeenth-century France

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Copyright © 2009, University of Michigan. All rights reserved. Posted June 2009.

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"Manning the Margins is provocative, timely, and very original and makes a significant contribution to a variety of fields, including French literary studies, early modern history of ideas, women's and gender studies, and masculinity studies. There is no other work that explores these questions in such depth and is so wide-ranging in its implications for a reevaluation of the period as a whole. Seifert's work is groundbreaking."
---Faith Beasley, Dartmouth College

"Manning the Margins innovatively synthesizes gender studies and early modern French texts, challenging absolutist assumptions of hierarchy and harmony."
---Todd Reeser, University of Pittsburgh

"This is a critical and most significant contribution to masculinity studies both because of its thorough review and synthesis of primary and secondary sources on the subject, as well as the critical and theoretical frames, and because of the original and important direction Seifert takes in his analysis."
---Kathleen Perry Long, Cornell University

Over the past three decades, a rich body of scholarship has uncovered the crucial roles women played in seventeenth-century France, a period often reduced to "classical" male authors and "absolutist" kings. But the clearer perspective we now have of women has exposed the need to take a fresh look at men and masculinity. Through his reading of a wide range of canonical and minor texts, Lewis C. Seifert charts a course toward a more complex understanding of gender during this seminal period.

Examining ideals of polite masculine conduct, the figure of the salon man, representations of male same-sex desire, and the case of a male cross-dresser, Manning the Margins shows how elite men defined themselves in relation to women and other men and argues that dominant masculinity cannot always eclipse marginalized masculinities. The theoretical material and historical questions Seifert addresses will appeal not only to scholars and students in French studies and early modern studies, but also to historians as well as those interested in gender studies, sexuality studies, and transgender studies.

Lewis C. Seifert is Associate Professor of French Studies at Brown University. He is also the author of Fairy Tales, Sexuality, and Gender in France, 1690-1715: Nostalgic Utopias and the coeditor (with Todd Reeser) of Entre Hommes: French and Francophone Masculinities in Culture and Theory. Visit the author's website: http://research.brown.edu/myresearch/Lewis_C._Seifert.