Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Murray, Jacqueline,


History, Medieval.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


This thesis examines the gendered experience of the fifteenth-century provincial gentleman through the letters of the Paston family. On the whole, the men of the gentry did not consciously ponder their identities as men. However, in their articulations of daily social concerns, these men often engaged in discussions about masculinity and male sexuality. To contextualize an analysis of men in the later Middle Ages a study of the numerous competing discourses on male sexuality and masculinity is provided. In their missives men discussed with other male associates ideas of male sexuality and defined their own sexualities in moral or more earthly and carnal terms. Moving from the sexual to the more social aspects of masculinity, this study illuminates the masculine ideology of aspiring gentry families which emphasized men's participation and willingness to engage in ostensibly "masculine" activities, such as protection and providing. Individuals, men and women, by participating in a discussion of what constituted masculine identity and activity, engaged with and manipulated masculine ideologies to gain personal power. Exercising personal choice, men either accepted and reinforced their identities according to the class-based gender standards or affiliated themselves with other masculinities despite their family's derision. Despite their agency as individuals, the men and women of the provincial gentry were subject to cultural ideologies which shaped how they articulated ideas of male gender identity.Dept. of History, Philosophy, and Political Science. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1997 .H35. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 37-01, page: 0099. Adviser: Jacqueline Murray. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1997.