Drawing from medieval chivalric culture, the prose romance was a popular early modern genre featuring stories of courtship, combat, and travel. Flourishing at the same moment as the growing English trade with the Eastern Mediterranean, prose romances adopted both Eastern settings and new conceptions of masculinity - commercial rather than chivalric, erotic rather than militant. Knights in Arms moves beyond the best-known examples of the genre, such as Philip Sidney's Arcadia, to consider the broad range of texts which featured the Eastern Mediterranean in this era. Goran Stanivukovic highlights how eroticism within prose romances, particularly homoerotic desire, facilitated commercial, cross-ethnic, and cross-cultural interactions, shaping European knowledge and conceptions of the Mediterranean and the Ottoman Empire. Through his careful examination of these lesser known works, Stanivukovic sheds important light on early modern trade, Mediterranean politics, and the changing meaning of masculinity in an age of commercial expansion.
Goran Stanivukovic is a professor in the English Department at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Preface Introduction: Mapping Territories Part I: The Knight and Romances of Trade 1. Purchasing Kingdoms in the Eastern Mediterranean 2. The Knight on the Silk Road 3. The Marriage of Merchant Kingdoms in Romances of Men Part II: Intimacy, Sexuality, and Queer Levant 4. Desire and Knightly Masculinity 5. Cruising the Eastern Mediterranean: The Knight, the Friend, the Favourite, and Homoerotic Romance Afterword: Mediterranean Masculinities