Gender, inversion and the causes of the English Civil War
in Revolutionising politics
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This essay examines the role of gender in the causes of the English Civil War. It integrates feminist scholarship and methodology with the political events and concerns of the 1630s. By exploring the work of William Prynne, particularly The Unloveliness of Lovelocks and the more famous Histrio-Mastix, it demonstrates that Prynne’s concern with both moral corruption and women’s and men’s dress recapitulated key concerns of the debate on women from 1615–20. Prynne was concerned that inappropriate dress – in the world or in the theatre – was a violation of the proper gender order, as well as of Christian and English purity. The implication in Histrio-Mastix was that Charles I’s long hair made him not just sinful, but a failed patriarch. Gender was central to the political and cultural conflicts of the 1630s.

Revolutionising politics

Culture and conflict in England, 1620–60


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