King James and the History of Homosexuality

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King James and the History of Homosexuality

Product no.: 978-1-78155-543-9
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  • A crucial study showing that James’ sexual reputation helped radicalise political discourse and cause the English Civil War
  • The first detailed academic study of all of James’ favourites and their impact, employing a vast array of contemporary evidence
  • A gripping story that boldly revises the political background to the English Civil War and the history of homosexuality

James VI and I, the namesake of the King James Bible, had a series of notorious male favourites. No one denies that these relationships were amorous, but were they sexual? Michael B. Young merges political history with recent scholarship in the history of sexuality to answer that question. More broadly, he shows that James’ favourites had a negative impact within the royal family, at court, in Parliament, and in the nation at large.

Contemporaries raised the spectre of a sodomitical court and an effeminised nation; some urged James to engage in a more virile foreign policy by embarking on war. Queen Anne encouraged a martial spirit and moulded her oldest son to be more manly than his father. Repercussions continued after James’ death, detracting from the majesty of the monarchy and contributing to the outbreak of the Civil War.

Persons acquainted with the history of sexuality will find surprising premonitions here of modern homosexuality and homophobia. General readers will find a world of political intrigue coloured by sodomy, pederasty and gender instability.

For readers new to the subject, King James and the History of Homosexuality begins with a helpful overview of King James’ life.


Michael B. Young received his Ph.D. from Harvard University. He is the author of two other books and numerous articles about politics in the reigns of James I and Charles I with special attention to Parliament. He is a Professor of History at Illinois Wesleyan University where he has been recognised for his outstanding teaching of courses on early modern Europe and Tudor-Stuart England. He also teaches a course based on the book entitled Sex, Gender and Power under King James. In 2013, he was appointed to the Robert W. Harrington endowed professorship at his university.

Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
Binding: hardback
Extent: 288 pages

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