Performing Chivalric Masculinity: Morality, Restraint, and Emotional Norms in the Libro del Cavallero Zifar

Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Emotions book series (Palgrave Studies in the History of Emotions)


Bergqvist offers an analysis of how emotional and affective behavior are portrayed in relation to masculinity in the Libro del Cavallero Zifar, the first domestic book of chivalry composed in medieval Castile around the year 1300. This literary work embodies knightly manhood and the performative aspect of lay elite masculinity. Bergqvist finds that the male ideal of the Zifar, epitomized in its eponymous hero, is characterized by emotional restraint and composure. This ideal of moderation, shared with contemporaneous wisdom literature, grounds Castilian chivalry in morality, and creates a distance from the emotionally excessive Arthurian knights of French romances. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the incentive for promoting this ideal and the influence on the narrative of Toledo as the place of composition.

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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden

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