Stefania Biscetti

Representing Manhood: The pre- and post-War English Gentleman in 17th century Courtesy Books

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Cognitive Linguistics; Male Metaphors; 17th Century England; Diachronic Change..

This paper offers a preliminary diachronic investigation of 17th century conceptualisations of the ideal English gentleman. A corpus of 121 male metaphors extracted from two advice books for gentlemen published on either side of the Civil War has been analysed to uncover how and to what extent cognitive representations of gentlemanly manhood were affected by the experience of the Revolution. Continuity across a time span of about 70 years is given by the endurance of certain motives and themes, such as the exaltation of reason over passions and the emphasis on social conquest and self-mastery in the public rather than in the private sphere. Change is instead given by the types of metaphors used to conceptualise social success, by a shift in emphasis from the inner to the outer self, by a different notion of male honour, and by a great post-war concern for tolerance and social harmony.

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