Taking on nothing less than the formation of modern sexual and gender identities, King examines the way masculinity in the 17th and 18th centuries was reconfigured, and how heterosexuality in turn became naturalized. This is a crucial work by one of the field's leading scholars. The Gendering of Men, 1600-1750 traces the transition from a society based on alliance, which had subordinated all men, women, and boys to higher ranked males, to one founded in sexuality, through which men have embodied their claims to personal and political privacy. King proposes that the male body is a performative production marking men's resistance to their subjection within patriarchy and sovereignty. Emphasizing that categories of gender must come under historical analysis, The Gendering of Men explores men's particpation in an ongoing struggle for access to a universal manliness transcending other biological and social differentials.
Thomas A. King is associate professor of English at Brandeis University, where he teaches early modern and eighteenth-century studies, gender and queer studies, and performance studies. Prior to his teaching career, King worked as an A.E.A. stage manager in Chicago. He is the author of volume one of The Gendering of Men, 1600-1750: Volume 1, The English Phallus, also published by the University of Wisconsin Press.