- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: New York University Press (1 Sep 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0814796931
- ISBN-13: 978-0814796931
- Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.7 x 2.5 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,163,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
For readers not already well acquainted with King James, such as myself, the opening chapter establishes his history. And it does a good job -- not only did it enable me to follow the rest of the book, but subsequent histories I've read of King James didn't add anything surprising, meaning it was sufficiently thorough.
The next chapters examine the evidence that James had sex with his male favorites, what the court and subjects thought about it, along with the various terms, codes and historical analogies that James' contemporaries could discourse about sex between males.
Subsequent chapters discuss the relationship between homosexuality, effeminacy and pacifism vs. heterosexuality, masculinity and war, how James's homosexuality affected the reign of his son, Charles, and what contemporary and later writers said about James's sexuality, concluding with comments on the general history of homosexuality.
Fascinating book. It has an element of the tabloid (with juicy excerpts from James' love letters) while also very thought-provoking. I have purely a layman's interest in the subject, and I had no trouble following the author's language or arguments. For more serious historians and researchers, everything is very thoroughly footnoted and annotated.
I *HIGHLY* recommend it.
one letter, by King James himself to Robert Carr in 1615, complains about a number of issues, including: "I leave out of this reckoning your long creeping back and withdrawing yourself from lying in my chamber, notwithstanding my many hundred times earnestly soliciting you to the contrary." (Young, p. 43)
Villiers, on anticipating his return to England from his Spanish posting, told King James: "I cannot now think of giving thanks for friend, wife, or child; my thoughts are only bent on having my dear Dad and Master's legs soon in my arms." (Young, p. 47)
while King James did write about sodomy as a "horrible" crime in his Basilikon Doron, "Sex with subordinates was a prereogative of patriarchy, and James was the chief patriach of the whole realm." (Young, p. 48) "James could have been perfectly earnest in condemning sodomy while simultaneously engaging in what we today would call homosexual behaviour" (Young, p. 49)--because the "legal definition [of sodomy] was extremely narrow. It specified only one sex act between men, anal intercourse, and excluded all other genital sex acts." Furthermore, as James is said to be "a notorious hypocrite where swearing and drinking were concerned; he could simply have been the same where sodomy was concerned." (Young, p. 50)
Did James play the hypocrite, preaching one thing fr one side of his face while whispering something else to his favourites? Perhaps no one will ever know on this side of heaven. It won't hurt to read Young's arguments and decide for yourself.
This product's forum
Active discussions in related forums
Search Customer Discussions