Male Saints and Devotional Masculinity in Late Medieval England



This article considers the ways in which the lives of male monastic saints circulating in late medieval England (and the cults of male saints more widely) were underpinned by certain ideas and ideals of masculinity and the functions which these performed. It argues for the significance of male saints serving as devotional models for the lay audience of these texts (both men and women). The two main sources are William Caxton's Golden Legend (published in 1483) and his Vitas Patrum (published after his death by Wynkyn de Worde in 1495). It therefore seeks to make a contribution to our understanding of the ways in which piety was used to assess masculinity, but also the extent to which piety as a social identity (both public and private in nature) was informed by notions of manliness.