Flaunting: Style and the Subversive Male Body in Renaissance England by Amanda BaileyFlaunting: Style and the Subversive Male Body in Renaissance England by Amanda Bailey

Flaunting: Style and the Subversive Male Body in Renaissance England

byAmanda Bailey

Hardcover | September 15, 2007

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In the early modern period, the theatrical stage offered one of the most popular forms of entertainment and aesthetic pleasure. It also fulfilled an important cultural function by displaying modes of behaviour and dramatizing social interaction within a community. Flaunting argues that the theatre in late sixteenth-century England created the conditions for a subculture of style whose members came to distinguish themselves by their sartorial extravagance and social impudence.

Drawing on evidence from legal documents, economic treatises, domestic manuals, accounts of playhouse practices, and stage plays, Amanda Bailey critiques standard accounts maintaining that those who flaunted their apparel were simply aspirants, or gaudy versions of the superiors they sought to emulate. Instead, she suggests that what mattered most was not what these young men wore but how they wore their clothes. These young men shared a distinctive sartorial sensibility and used that sensibility to undermine authority at all levels of society. Flaunting therefore, examines male style as a visual form of subversion against the norms of Renaissance England with the stage as the primary source of inspiration for collective identification.

A glimpse into both the celebration of and opposition to social irreverence in the early modern period, Flaunting is a fascinating historical account of drama, fashion, and rebellion with surprisingly close parallels to the contemporary world.

Amanda Bailey is an assistant professor in the Department of English at the University of Connecticut, Storrs.
Title:Flaunting: Style and the Subversive Male Body in Renaissance EnglandFormat:HardcoverDimensions:196 pages, 9.36 × 6.26 × 0.76 inPublished:September 15, 2007Publisher:University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing DivisionLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:080209242X

ISBN - 13:9780802092427

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Table of Contents


  1. ‘Style is the man’: Defiant Aesthetics and the Culture of Male Youth
  2. Monstrous Manner: Clothing Law and the Early Modern Theatre
  3. Livery and Its Discontents in The Taming of the Shrew
  4. The Italian Vice and Bad Taste in Edward II
  5. Plotting Style in Ben Jonson’s London

Epilogue: The Twilight of Sumptuousness, the Dawn of Style