“Barbarous Gallants”: Fashion, Morality, and the Marked Body in English Culture, 1590–1660

by Joel Konrad


The overseas body provided an interesting and useful site of cultural understanding in early modern England. The marked body in particular was used by observers to address important questions concerning correct bodily deportment and its connection to civility, morality, and religiosity, resulting in an integration of the discourses of foreign and domestic somatic presentation. This study traces the changing English constructions of the marked body in the public discourse of the overseas world published between 1590 and 1660, a period that witnessed important changes in attitudes towards overseas corporeality. It challenges the common assumption that the marked body was an ephemeral and fleeting subject before Cook’s Endeavour voyage, illustrating the textured and changing understanding that early modern English commentators displayed when confronted with corporeal alteration in the overseas world. In particular, it explores the reflexive contemplation overseas ornamentation engendered in England during the early years of English colonial endeavor.

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