Gender and class informed the attitudes of French noblemen toward military training and an army career in the France of the early Third Republic. Honor for the male aristocracy was considered to be “in the blood” and still very closely bound to ancient military virtues of duty, bravery, and sacrifice. Boys raised in noble families were conditioned to value martial honor—and to seek to embody it—well before entering prestigious military academies in adolescence. Ancestral tradition created pressure on noblemen to serve with distinction in the army and, by doing so, to conform to an ideal of military manhood. This strained some noblemen's relationships with male relatives and the cross-generational imperative to uphold the warrior ethos led many to their death on the battlefield.
Elizabeth C. Macknight
In Much Ado About Nothing, characters repeatedly stage moments designed to confuse other figures, a good example being the machinations aimed at Beatrice and Benedick. However, the play contains many more instances in which misrepresentation plays with truth. The supposed offstage seduction of Hero signals the audience that what this unseen (to them) event means will be crucial, making them focus upon the meanings given to the event by the characters. Critics have often noted that the young noblemen get it wrong, and that the play then ironically counterpoints this by making the useless constabulary get it right by apprehending the culprit; they also usually marginalise the older characters, especially the Friar, who is relegated to a plot-function. However, given the play's insistence on perception and misunderstanding, this article revisits their importance in performance as a group that avoids the mistakes made by the younger generation.
Literacies in Early Modern England
Eve Rachele Sanders and Margaret W. Ferguson
Literacy, in the sixteenth century, was construed as multiple, variable, subject to redefinition by edict from above and by practices from below. The importance of regulating changes in skills and behaviors, in particular, increased reading of the Bible, was hotly debated as the Reformation got underway. In England, the Tudor state intervened erratically, first encouraging the reading of the English Bible for all, then forbidding its reading to all but a privileged few. In 1538, every parish church was required by a royal injunction to purchase an English Bible and place it in the choir. The Great Bible, published in 1540 with a new preface by the Archbishop of Canterbury, stressed the ideal of an England peopled by ‘all manner’ of readers of Scripture in the vernacular: ‘Here may all manner of persons, men, women, young, old, learned, unlearned, rich, poor, priests, laymen, lords, ladies, officers, tenants, and mean men, virgins, wives, widows, lawyers, merchants, artificers, husbandmen, and all manner of persons, of what estate or condition soever they be, may in this book learn all things’. Only three years later, however, in 1543, the selfvauntingly named Act for the Advancement of True Religion and for the Abolishment of the Contrary attempted to undo that opening of the floodgates by lowering them again to allow for only a trickle of elite readers to have access to Scripture. Reading the Bible in English was prohibited outright for women, artificers, journeymen, serving-men of the rank of yeoman and under, husbandmen and laborers; noblewomen and gentlewomen could read the Bible silently; only noblemen, gentlemen, and merchants were permitted to read it aloud to others.